The 10-4 Tennessee Titans are the highest-scoring team in the NFL in the 2020 season.
How many people predicted this to be the case by Week 16? The Titans are one of five teams in NFL history to put up over 420 yards and 30 points in five consecutive weeks, and a repeat of that performance this week would make them the first team ever to do it six weeks in a row. This offense is humming along with extreme confidence, and very few weaknesses.
That’s what makes this weekend’s Sunday Night Football matchup between the Titans and Packers at Lambeau Field so intriguing. Aaron Rodgers and the No. 3 scoring offense in the NFL look to defend their turf and get to 12-3 against the league’s top scoring offense.
There are so many storylines going into this non-conference matchup. The battle of offenses, Mike Vrabel matching up with Packers head coach and former Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, and, of course, the opportunity to clinch a playoff berth with a win. Not to mention the opportunity to clinch an AFC South title with a win, if the Colts fall to the Steelers on Sunday afternoon.
This is a huge game for the two-toned blue. So what should you have your eyes on in this matchup?
Three things to watch:
Titans secondary vs Davante Adams: Aaron Rodgers has completed 332 passes this season. 98 of those have gone to Davante Adams. It was a welcome sight for Titans fans to see Adoree Jackson back in the lineup against the Lions, and the secondary could be boosted further if rookie Kristian Fulton and safety Kenny Vaccaro can play on Sunday. This defense – which ranks No. 22 in the NFL with 25.8 points per game allowed – must rely on the back end with its pass rush deficiencies this season. Rodgers has been able to rely on weapons like running back Aaron Jones and tight end Robert Tonyan this season but keying in on Adams and taking away his top target will be crucial.
Pass rush: It feels like Déjà vu, doesn’t it? Every week I mention the Titans pass rush, because it is a significant problem. The Titans have not registered an official sack since Week 12 at the Colts and are dead last in the NFL in sacks-per-game with just one. These issues can be swept under the rug against the Jaguars and Lions, but not the Packers. The Titans simply must figure out a way to scheme up pressure on Aaron Rodgers, or he will pick this defense apart.
Pass protection: On that same note, the Packers rank No. 9 in the league in sacks-per-game with 2.7. Outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith is having a productive season, already with 11.5 sacks. Ryan Tannehill is on pace to shatter single-season quarterback records in the Titans era, despite having issues with blindside protection since the season-ending injury to left tackle Taylor Lewan. To keep pace with the Packers, the Titans offense must keep Tannehill upright.
The Titans win if…
The Titans will win if they get the ball last.
In all seriousness, this feels like that type of game. With two stellar offenses going head-to-head, the Titans may need to just play keep-away from Aaron Rodgers. Luckily for Derrick Henry, the high on Sunday is 36 degrees with a chance for snow. This gives Henry a great opportunity to do what he does in December, and help the Titans control the clock.
The ultimate difference could come down to defense, where the Packers certainly have the edge. The Packers have allowed 337 yards per game, good for No. 8 in the NFL this season. The onus will be on this offense to control the game for a chance to win.
Although this is not an AFC game, this is the biggest game of the season so far for the Titans. A win stamps your ticket into the postseason, setting up a chance to clinch the AFC South with either a Colts loss or a win in Houston next week. A loss opens the door for the Colts to snatch the division away – if they are able to hand the Steelers their fourth straight loss on Sunday.
It’s a high-stakes matchup at Lambeau Field on Sunday Night Football. What more could you want?
Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers (-3.5)
Kickoff: 7:20 pm
Location: Green Bay, Wisconsin (Lambeau Field)
TV Broadcast Crew: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya
Radio: 104-5 The Zone
Radio Broadcast Crew: Mike Keith, Dave McGinnis, Amie Wells, Jonathan Hutton, Rhett Bryan
Referee: Brad Allen
Weather: High of 36, low of 19, 40% chance of snow