Aaron Rodgers and company look to move toward a first-round bye against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
Green Bay is fighting to get a first-round bye, something it can achieve by winning out. The Packers have already locked up a playoff spot after clinching the NFC North last week with a win over the Chicago Bears. Now, Mike McCarthy's team can move toward the No. 2 seed by beating a seemingly over-matched foe at home.
Tennessee, on the other hand, is 5-9 and going nowhere fast, hoping to simply build for the future with Jake Locker behind center. The Titans are coming off a win on Monday night against the New York Jets, so they will look to build on the momentum.
Meet the Green Bay Packers
After starting the season 2-3, Green Bay has become a force once again. The team has only lost once since that point with Aaron Rodgers leading the way with another brilliant season. Rodgers has thrown for 32 touchdowns and over 3,500 yards with the lack of any sort of a running game.
The defense has been much improved this year, ranking 16th and 14th against the pass and run after being the worst defense in NFL history in 2011.
This team may not be as explosive as offensively as the 15-1 squad of a year ago, but it's more well-rounded.
Meet the Tennessee Titans
Tennessee took a step back this year with Locker under center, but that was somewhat expected. The team played above expectations in 2011 on the way to a 9-7 finish, and has come back down to Earth.
The Titans can beat anybody on a given day but certainly have some needs to address, starting with their run defense, which ranks 25th overall. In a division with Maurice Jones-Drew and Arian Foster, that's a recipe for disaster.
Locker also needs to improve, throwing only nine touchdowns and an equal amount of interceptions.
Local Takes: Green Bay Packers
Devin Shanley from ACME Packing Company says the Packers need to run the ball more effectively:
When the weather gets cold you need to be able to run the football. There are countless little reasons why that is the case, but running the ball effectively is the bottom line when making a playoff run. Now is the time for the Packers to get that ground game going. It doesn't matter if it’s Alex Green, DuJuan Harris, or Ryan Grant. The Packers need to find their ground game and get that mojo going before the playoffs.
Local Takes: Tennessee Titans
Jimmy Morris of Music City Miracles talks about the idea of when to blitz Aaron Rodgers:
The best approach will be to carefully pick his spots. You can't sit back in cover 2 all day against Rodgers because he is going to pick you apart, but you also can't all out blitz because it will lead to big plays in single coverage.
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The Packers need the win much more than Tennessee does. Factor in they are the vastly superior team and at home, and the game shouldn't be much of a contest.
The Titans have a solid pass defense, but nobody has a great defense against Aaron Rodgers. The Cal product will be able to move the ball as usual through the air, finding his bevy of targets. Ultimately, Jake Locker will have to move the ball against the veteran Packer secondary. That will be the difference.
Put Locker down for a few turnovers, and a loss.
The pick: 34-17, Packers
The Packers are favored by 11 points, according to Bovada.