It’s been awhile since the Packers have hosted a match-up of this magnitude. The Packers are in first in the NFC North and are one win away from being the overall number 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. The Titans are in first place in the AFC South and currently the fourth seed in the AFC playoffs. They will also be facing the NFL’s top running back in Tennessee’s Derrick Henry. Plus, let’s not forget that before Head Coach Matt LaFleur became the head coach in Green Bay, he was the offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans. This will be a Sunday Night Thriller at Lambeau Field.
Packers vs Titans
- Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
- When: Sunday, Dec. 27 at 7:20 p.m. CT
- TV: NBC
- Commentators: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya
- Line: Packers favored by 3.5
- Last Meeting: 2016, week 10, at Tennessee, Packers 25 – Titans 47
- What’s on the line: Packers can clinch the #1 seed in the NFC playoffs with a win and a Rams win or tie vs Seattle
3 Things to Watch
Packers Run Defense vs Derrick Henry
This is a big task for the Packers defense. Henry is the NFL’s leading rusher and he has taken it to another gear as the season has worn on. In four of his last five games, Henry has rushed for at least 133 yards, and two weeks ago he eclipsed the 200 yard mark by going for 215 yards. The 247 pound back is deceptively fast and not easily tackled in the open field by one defender. The Packers defense is going to have to swarm to tackle him, multiple players tackling him together. One way to help the run defense against Henry, is by keeping him off the field. The best defense is having the offense control the time of possession, and lime the Titans offensive opportunities. Henry has also gotten better as games have progressed. His yards per carry has increased from 3.8 in the first quarter to 7.1 in the fourth. This will be a major challenge for the Packers, and we will find out how much their run defense has improved.
Aaron Rodgers vs Titans Defense
While there is concern on the Packers side in facing the Titans Derrick Henry, there is concern on the Titans side in facing Aaron Rodgers. The Titans defense ranks 28th in the league and is currently allowing nearly 276 yards through the air per game this season. The Packers will be getting center Corey Linsley back this week and Rodgers should have plenty of time in the pocket to find open receivers as the Titans do no generate much of a pass rush. Rodgers has thrown only 4 interceptions this season and is extremely good at taking care of the football. On the other side of the ball, the Titans are very good at forcing turnovers. So protecting the football will be key not only for Rodgers but also for this Packers offense.
Packers Corners vs Titans Passing Attack
Stopping Derrick Henry is goal number one for the Packers and if they can stop him they will win this football game. But, they can not sleep on the Titans passing game. Jaire Alexander is the Packers number 1 lock down cornerback and puts receivers on an island. The Packers defense knows they have to stop Henry but they can’t get too sucked in because then the Titans will beat them on the play-action pass. The Packers will need Kevin King to step up opposite Alexander. King has played his two worst games recently the last two weeks. The Titans have two receivers, AJ Brown and Corey Davis, who are totaling nearly 16 yards per catch. The Titans have been very good at the play-action pass. The Packers cornerbacks are going to need to be very disciplined and they will need King to step up.
The Packers have a huge opportunity in front of them. A win and the a Rams win and the Packers have secured the number one seed in the NFC playoffs. This game will also be a huge test for the Packers as they prepare for a deep playoff run. This should be an exciting thriller at Lambeau Field. I am expecting this to be a close game and a slugfest throughout. I am hoping the Packers can wrap up the number one see today so we can see Tim Boyle next week vs Chicago.
Go Pack Go!
Anthony Haag is a writer for PackersTalk.com. He has been a Packers fan since the day he was born and truly bleeds green and gold. He makes annual visits to Lambeau Field and has attended his fair share of games. You can follow Anthony on Twitter at @anthony_haag