The NFL season has come down to the wire as week 16 concludes its Sunday night slate today with a huge meeting of two of the top teams in the entire league. The Green Bay Packers, who currently lead the NFC in the pursuit for the #1 seed, will take on the Tennessee Titans, who need the win to keep pace with the Indianapolis Colts for the AFC South crown (8.20pm ET; TV: Live on NBC).
The Packers have already clinched the NFC North, but a win tonight would clinch a playoff spot for the Titans as well and make their quest at winning their divisional title that much more likely.
As can be expected, week 16 is full of exciting matchups as there are just two weeks of football left to be played but a lot left to be decided. In a year where the playoffs have been expanded, there are more opportunities than ever for teams to reach the postseason and that means more races for those spots than ever before. Not to mention, there are several divisions that are still too close to call. The playoff implications of this, and many of the games this week, cannot be overstated.
Titans/Packers is a game that very much has playoff implications as in addition to the ones outlined above, there is also a very real possibility these two Sunday night opponents meet in the Super Bowl. That would require the Titans to have some postseason magic as teams like the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers will stand in their way. Though it should be noted that the Titans demolished the AFC East leaders in the Bills and nearly toppled the then-undefeated Steelers a few weeks later. The Titans may be a 10-4 team on paper but when it comes to their capabilities, Tennessee may be even better than their record. If they can pick up a win over the Packers, it will only further the argument that the Titans should not be overlooked in the AFC.
The Derrick Henry Express
In this league, running backs are a dime a dozen but when you find one with generational talent, you should do everything in your power to keep them. The Titans did just that when they inked Derrick Henry to a four-year deal and already he is making their investment in him worth it. While the likely MVP of the league will be on the other side of the field in this game, Henry could well take home offensive player of the year honors. Through just 14 games, Henry is on pace for some incredible numbers should he stay healthy and finish out 2020’s slate. He currently leads the league in carries, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, doing so for the second year in a row. His 15 touchdowns in just 14 games is truly an impressive feat. It won’t be easy, but with two games remaining, Henry has an outside shot of becoming just the seventh player ever to break the 2,000-yard barrier.
Henry’s season has seen him run exceptionally well, no matter the opponent. Today he’ll face a middle of the road rush defense and should have no trouble continuing to run Tennessee’s offense through the run game. The best the Packers can do is run up an early lead, somewhat limiting Mike Vrabel’s ability to run the ball as much as he’d like. But even so, if the Titans need to mount a comeback, rest assured that Henry will be at the forefront of these efforts. As the games go on, Henry’s yards per carry have actually gone up significantly to as much as 7.1 YPC in the fourth quarter. That’s a problem for any defense. Henry is someone you can’t stop, at least not really. Green Bay can hope to limit his production like Pittsburgh did however. That was the last time Henry ran under 100 yards in a single game.
The Rejuvenation of Aaron Rodgers
When the 2020 season rolled around, the situation in Green Bay was rife with tension. Gone was former head coach Mike McCarthy, who despite having led the team to much of its recent success, had unceremoniously lost his job midway through the prior season only to be replaced by the team’s current coach Matt LaFleur. No one really knew how LaFleur and career Packer, Aaron Rodgers, would get along. That question was only heightened when the Packers, instead of giving Rodgers what he needed in a new offensive pass catcher, seemingly drafted his replacement in Jordan Love.
As it would turn out, LaFleur and Rodgers are the perfect match. The team has returned to its biggest strength by utilizing play action and in the process, Rodgers has returned as one of the most dominant quarterbacks in the league. The long-time vet went from questions swirling about where he’d be starting next year as Green Bay groomed his successor to questions of if anyone could defeat him for the MVP and if anyone could defeat his team in the playoffs. Love, who, right?
Rodgers’ numbers simply jump off the charts but the most impressive part of those eye-catching stats is that he has accomplished those feats with a group of mid-tier receivers. One of the mind-boggling Aaron Rodgers stats is how little in his career he’s thrown a touchdown pass to a wide receiver drafted in the first round. The Packers have a habit of not drafting highly touted weapons for their QB and their QB has a habit of making these no names into NFL success stories. The latest of which is Davante Adams, who has been one of Rodgers’ only top targets of the last few years. In classic Rodgers fashion, Adams has been just one of a large handful of pass catchers to catch one of Rodgers’ league-leading 40 touchdowns this year. That’s 40 touchdowns to just four interceptions, which is nearly a historic mark in terms of TD/Int ratio.
Rodgers has made the most of a little and thanks to Green Bay’s defense as well, is back in a position where a Super Bowl title is well within reach. A win over the Titans would just put the Packers one step closer to that as it nearly helps them ensure home field advantage throughout the NFC and a first-round bye.
Our Preview’s Titans at Packers Predictions Verdict, Along With Betting Picks
The Packers lead the way in the NFC but their lead is just one game over both the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks. The Titans are tied for the AFC South lead, though they own the tiebreaker against the Colts. These teams are in different stages of their playoff journeys as Green Bay will be looking to cement their top seed whereas Tennessee will just be looking to secure their own postseason appearance. Both teams can make serious inroads on those goals on Sunday night.
Expect a great game, one fitting of two teams with a lot left to play for. In the end, the Lambeau Field advantage, even without fans, will be enough to lift Rodgers and Green Bay over Henry and Tennessee. So when it comes to the Titans vs Packers predictions for this NFL preview, these are our picks:
- Look for a high scoring affair that tops the 54-point total @ +100 (evens) with Bookmaker or BetOnline. It is -105 with Bovada.
- Take the Packers -3pts on the spread to win the game @ best odds of -110 with Bookmaker or Intertops.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.