|Green Bay Packers||-3.5
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At this point, Aaron Rodgers and these Packers look like they could outscore anyone, even these tough-running Titans.
Packers -3.5 (-110)
|Titans vs Packers Information|
|What||Tennessee Titans vs Green Bay Packers|
|Where||Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI|
|When||Sunday, December 27, 2020; 8:20 PM ET|
|How to watch||NBC|
The Tennessee Titans have one of the best running backs in the league on their roster, Derek Henry, and they take on future Hall of Fame QB Aaron Rodgers and his tough Green Bay Packers, with the Titans needing a win here to stay in the battle for the AFC South with the Colts, with both teams at 10-4 on the season right now.
The 11-3 Green Bay Packers rule the NFC North and a win against these Titans keeps them a game ahead of the Saints for the coveted first overall playoff spot and its subsequent first-round playoff bye, so expect QB Rodgers and company to show up in full force for this one if they can only figure out a way to keep RB Derek Henry somewhat neutralized.
These two cross-conference rivals have met up just 12 other times, with the Green Bay Packers winning 5 of those games and the Tennessee Titans winning 7 of the games.
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The big challenge for the Titans in Week 16 is going to be figuring out how to stop Aaron Rodgers through the air, and that has been a specific area in their defense that Tennessee has struggled with this season.
The Titans are currently ranked 29th against the pass after having allowed opponents to throw for 276 yards per game, which is fifteen yards more than what the Packers are used to posting (261 passing yards per game).
So it will be up to the Tennessee secondary (cornerbacks Malcolm Butler and Adoree Jackson plus safeties Kenny Vaccaro and Kevin Byard) to figure out a game plan with HC Mike Vrabel that will neutralize Rodgers’ deep ball.
The Green Bay defense must figure out what few other teams have done before them, which is how to neutralize running back Derek Henry (see below) and prevent him from keeping the Titans on the field and QB Rodgers on the sideline.
That’s what a good run game does – eats up the clock and tires out the defense through constant punishment, but if the Packers can get ahead early on the scoreboard, the Titans might not be able to rely on their slow-paced running attack to catch up in points.
Green Bay DEs Dean Lowry and Kingsley Keke will play a big part in filling the gaps in the line that Henry likes to run through, so look for them to step up and help their team get the critical win that keeps them in the hunt for the number one NFC playoff seed.
When you are the best at what you do like running back Derek Henry is right now, you have a target on your back, and in the NFL that means double teams and slanted schemes and game-planning specifically to take away your strengths.
And despite all that purposeful resistance, RB Henry will be expected to (once again) carry his Titans to a victory with plenty of hard-hitting runs and those effective stiff arms that get him an extra yard or five at a time.
It’s exactly what Henry has done all season, so far with 321 carries for a league-leading 1,679 yards and 15 touchdowns, averaging 5.2 yards per carry and currently tied for most rushing TDs in the National Football League.
One of the keys to beating the Titans is putting a speed bump in front of their RB Henry, and there is no better hindrance to a good run than Packers linebacker Za’Darius Smith, who currently has 48 total tackles on the year, with 16 of them for a loss.
Right now, Smith is listed as questionable for Week 16 due to an ankle injury, and he will most likely remain a game-time decision for head coach Matt LaFleur, though chances are if Smith can walk, he’ll at least give it a go.
The other reason it is key to have Smith healthy and in the lineup is his ability to get at the opposing quarterback and take him down, currently, the fourth most productive sacker in the league with 11.5 sacks on his 2020 stats line so far.
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