My outside thermometer reads 40°, good football weather. It was the same temperature a few hours before gametime on Monday night, but it was steadily dropping with a pretty good wind blowing, which made the wind chill pretty cold during the game. It should be about 70° by kickoff today and be in the 70s for most of the game. I won’t complain about that. It will probably be the last chance of the year to wear shorts.
The Packers are coming off a bye week, so besides getting a chance for some injuries to heal, they’ve also had an extra week to prepare for the game. I believe this game will be a strong challenge for the Titans.
Aaron Rodgers has been coping with a strained right shoulder for a few weeks, but it hasn’t kept him from performing at a high level — in the last three games, he’s passed for six TDs and only one interception. For the season, he has an excellent 98.8 passer rating. Brett who?
Rodgers has a talented pair of receivers in veteran Donald Driver and third-year man Greg Jennings, who had twelve TD catches last year, more than all the Titans receivers combined. He’s a real deep threat, averaging 18.5 yards per reception. The Tennessee secondary will have another stiff test
Not only is the Pack good at passing the ball, they’re also good at defending the pass. Charles Woodson and Nick Collins each have four interceptions and Al Harris is making his return to the lineup after missing four games with a spleen injury. As Tom pointed out, this will be a good opportunity for Harris to ease his way back into the flow of things — the Titans don’t have any receivers that can present much of a challenge to Harris.
On the flip side, Green Bay is not that good running the ball or stopping the run. I’m hoping the Titans will have success running the ball against eight or nine men and keep the lead or keep it close. I don’t like the Titans’ chances of coming from behind to win by passing the ball in any game, but it would be even more difficult against the Packers secondary.
There are two matchups in particular I’ll be interested in watching.
Aaron Kampman is the Packers’ best d-lineman, leading them in both tackles and sacks. He’ll give David Stewart a tough matchup.
Albert Haynesworth will face LG Daryn Colledge and C Scott Wells. Big Al and Wells lined up on opposite sides of the ball in quite a few practices when they were both at the University of Tennessee.
While I always hope for a Tennessee victory, this one is a little more important. After today’s game, the Titans won’t have another home game for three weeks. The withdrawal will be even worse after a loss.
Prediction: Tennessee 27, Green Bay 20