If the Green Bay Packers beat the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night, they’ll be right back in the thick of the playoff race.
Beating the Titans, however, won’t be easy.
Tennessee’s defense has been incredibly impressive this season. The Titans lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime a couple of weeks ago, but Tennessee’s defense held Patrick Mahomes and the offense to just 17 points in regulation (KC won 20-17 in overtime).
The only time the Chiefs’ offense was able to do much was when Mahomes was flushed from the pocket.
Part of the reason Kansas City’s offense struggled was because the Titans shut down the Chiefs’ running game. KC rushed for just 77 yards against Tennessee.
Kansas City struggling to run the ball against the Titans shouldn’t be a surprise. Tennessee is allowing the third-fewest yards per carry in the NFL this season (3.9 yards per carry).
This has to be concerning for the Packers considering their success on the ground was the main reason they beat the Dallas Cowboys last week (Green Bay rushed for 207 yards against Dallas).
The Cowboys have the No. 5 scoring defense in the league but their run defense hasn’t been elite this season. Dallas is allowing 4.8 yards per carry this season (No. 28 in the NFL). So the Packers’ big day on the ground against the Cowboys doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll have that same success against an elite run defense.
Packers vs Titans will be “strength vs strength”
Something will have to give when the Packers and the Titans meet on Thursday night.
Tennessee’s run defense has a better track record than Green Bay’s run game this season, so I think, if we’re being fair, we have to assume the Titans’ run defense will have the advantage.
That means someone else will need to step up for the Packers to win this game.
And I think that someone needs to be rookie wide receiver Christian Watson.
Mahomes was able to do some damage against the Titans when plays broke down and he had to improvise. I imagine the Packers will face similar situations on Thursday night.
That means we might need to see some of that old Aaron Rodgers magic if Green Bay is going to win this game. Rodgers is going to have to make plays when he’s forced from the pocket. He’s going to have to scramble and find vertical threats (like Watson) downfield.
This would be the perfect week for Watson to build on his strong performance from last week against the Cowboys and prove that he can be a No. 1 wide receiver in Green Bay’s offense.
And because of the Titans’ strong run defense, I think this is probably the only way the Packers win this game. Watson will have to show up big.
The good news for Green Bay is that Tennessee’s offense has been anemic at best this season (averaging just 18.4 points per game…No. 26 in the NFL). The Packers’ defense should be able to easily keep this game close.
Green Bay’s offense, however, will have to hit a couple of big plays for the Packers to leave with Lambeau with their fifth win of the season.
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