When the Tennessee Titans travel to Lambeau Field on Sunday night to face the Green Bay Packers, it will be one of the toughest challenges head coach Mike Vrabel’s squad has faced this season.
Like the Titans, the Packers sport one of the best offenses in the NFL, as their unit is averaging 31.0 points per game, the third-best in the league — and that’s a problem for a Tennessee defense that has been inconsistent at best.
Clearly the Titans’ offense is going to have to be at its best in this game if a victory is to be achieved, but the Packers have shown enough for us to know that won’t exactly be easy.
We’ll expand on both of those points as we take a look at the Titans’ biggest causes for concern in Week 16 against the Packers.
It’s hard enough to slow down Aaron Rodgers with pressure because of his ability to navigate the pocket and get rid of the ball quickly, but the fact that the Titans have zero pass-rush will only make things more difficult.
That means Tennessee’s secondary must play its best game in coverage all season. The good news for the Titans is that they have Adoree’ Jackson for this game, and a trio consisting of Jackson, Malcolm Butler and Desmond King could cover for a lack of pressure on Rodgers.
The Packers’ defense comes into this game ranked ninth against the pass and 11th against the run, so this is a unit that has the ability to put the clamps on opposing offenses.
Unlike the Titans, the Packers have a consistent pass-rush that has totaled 38 sacks this season, the sixth most in the NFL, and is led by Za’Darius Smith, whose 11.5 sacks are almost more than the Titans have as a team (14).
Green Bay also sports a top-notch corner in Jaire Alexander, but Tennessee has an avenue to exploit the Packers’ pass defense via attacking Kevin King.
When the Titans get an opportunity to make a stop on third down against a potent Packers offense, they must get the job done more often than not.
However, that’s going to be difficult considering the Packers are tied for the second-highest success rate on third downs, while the Titans sport the worst third-down defense in the NFL.
If the Titans want to stake themselves to a lead in this game, they must provide some resistance on third downs on defense or else Tennessee will be chasing points all game long.