Green Bay Packers: How they will win or lose vs. Titans
For the Green Bay Packers, this week marks the start of the second half of the regular season. More importantly, it’s the start of a three game road trip that many would say IS the season.
The bad news is, the Packers are coming off a two-game losing streak, and sit at an abysmal 4-4 record. There’s more than that to be worried about, but more on that later.
The good news? It’s as if those eight games mean nothing in the NFC North race. If the Packers keep pace and take care of Minnesota and Detroit, they win the division.
There’s a lot of football left to be played, but I’m willing to play the must-win card this week. This is a must-win game. Here’s how the season falls apart in Music City.
How the Packers will lose
The Packers have four losses, but three have been decided by a combined total of only nine points. They were one possession ball games that each came down to one break that didn’t go the right way.
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However, the other loss, was an all around man-handling by the Dallas Cowboys. They had a young, inexperienced quarterback, maybe, but a world class offensive line and elite rushing game that ran the ball down Green Bay’s collective throat on their home turf. Aaron Rodgers couldn’t get anything going as the Packers fell behind fast.
Guess what? That is the same formula that fuels the Tennessee Titans. The possess the third-best run game in the NFL, averaging 144.2 yards per game. DeMarco Murray has found his fit, and the Titans offence can dictate the pace of this game. If they do, their top-10 pass rush gets the chance to go to work and force Rodgers to step up.
In short: the front seven has to come to play, and they have to do it without Clay Matthews, again. They didn’t against Dallas, and I simply don’t know if they can this Sunday.
On the other hand, maybe it has nothing to do with the run defence. Here’s now the Packers take care of business on Sunday.
How the Packers will win
Remember the moments against Atlanta and Indianapolis when the offence worked at a high tempo, found a different target on every play, and provided Rodgers with light years to scan the defence or take off for big gains with his legs?
Remember that, McCarthy? Bring that game plan early. Run Ty Montgomery, look deep to Jordy, move guys around the formation and get creative. Anyone can stop one or two key weapons, but there’s no way the Titans contain everything the Packers can throw at them.
Scoring in the first quarter is critical.
On paper, the true battle in this game is between the Titans’ run game and the Packers’ run defence, but if that is the focus, the Packers will have already lost. We will be focusing on next year, instead of next week.
Effective offence will keep the pressure on Marcus Mariota. Making the Titans play from behind can force them to go away from the run game. Mariota averages nearly one interception per game, and shouldn’t be able to light up the weak Packers secondary like Matt Ryan and Andrew Luck did. That sounds more promising to me.
Coach McCarthy, when you’re looking for defence on Sunday, don’t call up to Dom Capers. Look no further than the playbook in your hands, because to win this game, the best defence is a fast, creative offense.