Sunday, November 02, 2008

Packers - Titans Preview

So, we have a 4-3 team going against the sole unbeaten team in the NFL on that team's home turf. The latter is favored by 4-1/2 points, down from 5-1/2 earlier in the week. Easy pick, right?


Yes, I know that I tend to look at things through green'n'gold-colored glasses. But, in this case, I really do believe the Packers will pull the upset versus the Titans.

Granted, the Titans have a two-headed monster running attack. It's not the first time this season that the Packers have faced such a combo; remember Dallas? If the Packers don't somehow figure out a way to stop rookie phenom Chris Johnson and LenDale White, it could be a long day in Nashville. And if they don't find a way to get consistent pressure on QB Kerry Collins he could just get his first win in four tries against the Pack. Throw in having to stop defensive pressure from DT Albert Haynesworth and DE Kyle Vanden Bosch (who is listed as questionable with a groin injury) and the Packers are definitely in for a physical game. It shouldn't come entirely as a surprise, though, as the Packers and Titans met in the final preseason game. Titans coach Jeff Fisher played his starters much longer in that game than did coach McCarthy, so the Packers should have a good feel what to expect. Toss in seven weeks' worth of game film and there should be no surprises.

The Packers will need to somehow continue to improve their running game. It showed signs of life in the last game and it needs to be at least as good today as it was in the win over Indy. The passing game should have all hands on deck, although there were indications that rookie WR Jordy Nelson might not be available today, having injured his ankle in practice late in the week. QB Aaron Rodgers just has to do what he's been doing all season: play smart. But the O-line also has to give him the time he needs, and that means keeping Haynesworth and Vanden Bosch (if he plays) at bay, as well as opening some holes for Ryan Grant and the other backs now and then.

If the Pack can come out blazing and score early it might be hard for the Titans to get back into the game, barring any big or untimely turnovers by the Packers.

The Titans had an emotional, tough game against the Colts on Monday. I'd like to believe they left some of that spark behind and won't be quite as up for today's game.

I'm taking the Packers 24 - 20 over the Titans.

Go Pack Go!!!