Green Bay Packers vs. Tennessee Titans: 3 Key Matchups
The Tennessee Titans took one on the chin last week against the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers and Titans went back and forth throughout the first three quarters before Marcus Mariota’s costly mistakes led to the Chargers grabbing the lead and holding firm. The Titans had the possibility of tying the Houston Texans for a share of first place in the AFC South division. While it seems is often the case, the Titans let their fans down once again when it mattered most.
While it is easy to see the Titans have made a remarkable turnaround from where they were this time last year, last week showed we still have the overwhelming problem of not being able to close games out. Moving on to this week, the Titans will be hosting the Green Bay Packers. After comments made by Aaron Rodgers questioning the low energy of the team, it’s easy to believe the Packers will be focused and hungry. For the Titans to win this week, they will need to focus on three key matchups:
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Nov 6, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) celebrates with wide receiver Tajae Sharpe (19) after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Marcus Mariota Turnovers – While Marcus has played much better than what many critics are giving him credit for, he continues to make silly mistakes that lead to defensive scores. Every quarterback in the NFL is going to turn the ball over; that is the nature of the beast in the NFL. Mariota’s biggest issue is the costliness of those turnovers…according to ESPN reporter, Paul Kuharsky, “Mariota responsible for more defensive TD’s than anyone else in the NFL.”
The Green Bay Packers have been injury riddled in their secondary this season, which could allow for Mariota to have a successful day against a solid football team. To be successful, Mariota has to protect the football.
Time of Possession – Sounds simple enough in context, but the Titans have done a poor job in the early parts of games controlling the clock (excluding the Thursday Night massacre to the Jaguars). In the five losses the Titans have suffered this season, they have averaged 28:57 in time of possession. Conversely, in the four victories the Titans have averaged 33:05. If the Titans are able to establish a solid run game early on in this game, it could lead to a shocking victory. If the Titans struggle to keep the ball, it could allow for a long afternoon with Aaron Rodgers playing angry.
Pass Rush – Last week in the Titans loss to the San Diego Chargers, Phillip Rivers had entirely way too much time in the pocket. Ultimately, the Titans just had a terrible defensive performance against the pass and run. This week could result in much of the same if Brian
Oct 16, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo (98) looks on during the second half against the Cleveland Browns at Nissan Stadium. The Titans won 28-26. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Orakpo and co. cannot get to Rodgers early and often. Interestingly, the Titans have both Brian Orakpo (7.0) and Derrick Morgan (5.5) in the top 20 of sacks. After the first 10 weeks of the season, the Titans currently sit fifth in the NFL in sacks with a team total of 23. Green Bay has only allowed 17 sacks on the season, which is impressive considering their lack of a run game. Rodgers has averaged 44.8 pass attempts per game this season since Eddie Lacy and James Starks went down. This stat alone is not promising for a team that can be picked apart without a solid pass rush.