Sunday’s match-up against the Green Bay Packers will be the Titans‘ first face-off against a division leader. A very good, well rested, Packers team comes into LP Field trying to accomplish what has yet to occur this season: beat the undefeated Titans. It should be a good one.
Titans Rushing offense vs. Packers Defense:
Tennessee’s dynamic duo of LenDale White and Chris Johnson will face the league’s 8th most porous rushing defense on Sunday. White leads the NFL with 10 rushing TDs, and Johnson leads the AFC in rushing with 626 yards. Green Bay’s offensive line does little to control the line of scrimmage, so there should be lanes for the Titans rushing attack. This season the Titans have the most prolific rushing tandem in football. Some other combo attacks against the Packers this season: A. Peterson/T. Jackson (Vikings)-168 yards, M. Barber/F. Jones (Cowboys)-218 yards, E. Graham/W. Dunn (Bucs)-174 yards. C. Johnson/L. White (Titans)-???
Titans Passing Offense vs. Packers Defense:
The Packers defensive line, again, has done little to create pressure at the point of contact, including getting to the quarterback. Tennessee’s offensive line has been a constant example of how to protect a quarterback, and this shouldn’t change on Sunday. Green Bay’s deficiencies at getting to the quarterback, though, haven’t stopped the defensive unit from from ranking 6th overall in passing defense, allowing only .7 yards per game more in the air than the Titans. When you look at the NFL interception leaders, you’ll see two Titans (Finnegan & Griffin) and two Packers (Woodson & Collins) tied for first with 4. Green Bay’s secondary is very good, and Charles Woodson is still as good a shutdown CB as there is in the NFL. If Kerry Collins, with all the time in the world, can continue to avoid the big mistakes and move the ball enough to keep 8 out of the box, then the game plan is served. That said, with the Titans’ lacking passing attack and Green Bay’s secondary, don’t expect a whole lot more than that.
Packers Rushing Offense vs. Titans Defense:
Those of you who picked Ryan Grant in the 1st round of your fantasy drafts, I’m sorry. Grant finally eclipsed 100 yards for a game this season, putting up 105 against the Colts’ 26th ranked rushing defense before their bye. Grant is averaging 3.4 yards per carry (as opposed to 5.1 last year) with 1 touchdown (again against the Colts). This isn’t going to work against the Titans. Behind Grant on the depth chart; well there’s a reason that Grant got the job in the first place last year. Basically, Green Bay hasn’t had success running the ball this season, and there’s absolutely no reason to think that that will change on Sunday.
Packers Passing Offense vs. Titans Defense:
Brett Favre, blah, blah, blah. Aaron Rodgers has waited patiently for his shot to lead the Packers, and so far has performed more than admirably, out playing Favre and being rewarded with a contract extension through 2014. Rodgers is throwing 3 touchdowns per pick, and also has the benefit of having one of the best receivers in the league, Greg Jennings. Rodgers has found 7 different receivers for TDs, and the Packers feature a pretty balanced passing attack. The Titans, on the other hand, have only given up three passing touchdowns on the season, two of them last week, and feature one of the best defensive backfields in the NFL. This match-up will come down to how Tennessee can cover the entire field (that means linebackers across the middle of the field too), as well as whether or not Tennessee, with KVB back, can put pressure on a still ailing Rodgers. Grant’s not gonna do anything, so we’ll get more than our share of opportunities to see how this plays out.
In the return game, Tennessee is 1st in the NFL in kickoff returns, averaging 27.3 yards per return. Green Bay is 31st in the league, with 19.7 yards a clip. The disparity in punt returns is 2.3 yards (Green Bay’s 11.3 vs. Tennessee’s 9.0) isn’t all that much, so the return game looks to be in the Titans’ favor. The problem is that Tennessee has once again found themselves near the bottom in the league in both phases of kick coverage. With a capable offense like Green Bay’s, you obviously don’t want to give the Packers a short field, as a rule of thumb. The continual “ace in the hole,” though, is Rob Bironas. If this comes down to a field goal at the end of the game (sooner than later it will), the Titans have the edge here (even with last week’s miss).
Both Tennessee and Green Bay are coming off of big wins against the Indianapolis Colts. The big difference is that the Titans have six days rest as compared to the Packer’s fourteen. While Green Bay has been recuperating and game planning for Tennessee, the Titans (coming off of a huge prime time victory over their biggest rival) probably needed a little bit of time to really focus on the Packers this week. Not saying that Tennessee won’t be prepared, but there’s the potential for a little bit of lag at the beginning of this game.
Green Bay probably poses the toughest challenge that Tennessee will have faced thus far in the season. It should be a close game, but in terms of “weaknesses” the Titans passing offense is better than the Packers ground game. Tennessee should be able to make Green Bay’s offense one dimensional in a hurry, which is a big benefit that still has it’s dangers. This might be a little bit more of a high scoring affair than you would think.
Prediction: Titans 30-24
Tags: Aaron Rodgers Adrian Peterson Brett Favre Charles Woodson Chris Johnson Cortland Finnegan Dallas Cowboys Earnest Graham Felix Jones Green Bay Packers Greg Jennings Indianapolis Colts Kerry Collins Kyle Vanden Bosch LenDale White LP Field Marion Barber Michael Griffin Minnesota Vikings Nick Collins Rob Bironas Ryan Grant Tavaras Jackson Tavaris Jackson Tennessee Titans Warrick Dunn