Mandatory Credit: Photo by Morry Gash/AP/Shutterstock (13621907bj) Green Bay Packers wide receiver Christian Watson (9) celebrates catching a pass for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, in Green Bay, Wis Cowboys Packers Football, Green Bay, United States – 13 Nov 2022
Tennessee Titans (6-3) at Green Bay Packers (4-6)
Time/TV: 7:15 p.m. CT/Prime Video
Last week’s win over the Dallas Cowboys provided the Green Bay Packers with much-needed relief after five consecutive losses and could possibly be the boost they needed to turn a corner on what has been a disappointing season thus far. Maintaining that momentum would require knocking off the red-hot Titans, who have won six of their last seven games despite an offense that ranks dead last in the NFL in yards per game. The Titans’ defense has been elite and hopes to create problems for Aaron Rodgers similar to what he dealt with during the Packers’ extended skid.
Tennessee also got starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill back last week following time missed due to injury. His connection with Nick Westbook-Ikhine in the passing game allowed the Titans to find a way to top Denver’s stingy defense. Tannehill finished the afternoon with 255 yards and two touchdowns, his highest yardage total since Week 3 and his first time passing for two scores since Week 4.
Against Green Bay, one would expect Tennessee to get back to its roots as a run-first team behind their freight train running back Derrick Henry. Henry struggled to just 53 yards rushing on 19 carries against the Broncos but is surely chomping at the bit to run at a Packers’ defense ranking 26th in rush yards allowed this year. Tennessee’s bellcow at running back had eclipsed 100 yards rushing in each of their last five games before heading to Denver, and they’ll probably hand Henry the ball another 25 or so times Thursday night.
Sunday’s win may have left the Packers feeling a bit better about themselves, but there is plenty of work to be done if Green Bay wants to come anywhere near fulfilling their season-long goals. The emergence of rookie wide receiver Christian Watson was a huge factor in Sunday’s win, as the former Penn State Nittany Lion picked up 107 receiving yards and three touchdowns. With a lot made all year about quarterback Aaron Rodgers looking for Davante Adams’ replacement as his go-to wideout, it will be interesting to see if Watson develops into that player in the coming weeks now that he is healthy.
Green Bay also leaned on their run game against Dallas, handing Aaron Jones the ball a season-high 24 times en route to a huge day on the ground. Replicating that offensive performance will be no easy task against the Tennessee defense, a unit that is allowing the second-fewest rushing yards in the NFL and just 18.7 points per game.
With both teams likely hoping to run the football successfully, there is a compelling argument to be made that the Titans’ defense has a better chance of holding up. Winning on the road in the Lambeau Field cold, especially with only a few days of rest, is quite a mountain to climb for any team. Despite Aaron Rodgers’ struggles for the better part of the 2022 season, Green Bay showed flashes of their explosiveness against the Cowboys – and if Tennessee commits too hard to stopping the run, the Packers may instead choose to exploit the Titans’ 31st-ranked defense against the pass. Green Bay remains desperate to string wins together and will be playing in front of a raucous crowd on the frozen tundra. A win in a wide-open NFC would put the Packers right back in the thick of the playoff hunt.