It is always disappointing to lose games, but last week's game was not the most excruciating loss that I have experienced as a fan. The team showed great improvement, looked much better on offense, and Marcus Mariota is continuing his upward trend. The team also faced adversity very well, taking the lead after a 16-0 deficit, and another 2 score deficit after a turnover late in the game. With the team having two first round picks next season, I am very optimistic about the future. Now, onto the present, we shift our focus to Green Bay:
Reasons For Confidence: Plays through the air, Cornerbacks
Plays through the air: The Packers seem to be one of the more banged up teams in the league. The area that they are weakest right now is probably the secondary--missing some of their best cornerbacks in Sam Shields and Damarious Randall. The Titans have been able to make many more plays through the air, including what was probably their best passing game of the season. If the Titans can continue to build on what they did last week on offense, and the absence of the Green Bay cornerbacks continues to be fully on display, we could see another big day by Mariota and the receivers.
Cornerbacks: No, really. Even against a group that features Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams, I believe that the Titans' cornerbacks should have an advantage on Sunday. This is a dink and dunk offense that is heavily reliant on the receivers winning one-on-one battles. However, Jordy Nelson seems to have not fully recovered yet, and Randall Cobb is banged up as well. As a result, the passing game and offense as a whole has become stagnant. The Titans winning this battle would go a long way towards a winning effort.
Reasons For Concern: Aaron Rodgers, Run Defense
Aaron Rodgers: Now, to contradict everything that I just said, I will say that Aaron Rodgers can win the game through the air by himself. When facing one of the league's elite quarterbacks last week, the Titans defense gave up far too many yards to win. It will interesting to see how the defense adjusts after their worst performance of the season.
Run Defense: While the run game is the strength of the Titans offense, run defense is the strength of the Packers defense. This is a unit that only gives up roughly 75 yards per game. If the Titans cannot run the ball on Sunday, it could shape up to be a long day. With Demarco Murray still battling his foot injury and Derrick Henry likely out on Sunday, we could see the Titans being forced to go one dimensional on offense. One of the telling statistics Sunday night will be rushing yards. If we see the Titans matching the Packers averages, they likely did not win. If they can be productive on the ground, we could see a very different outcome.
Prediction: It was pretty tough for me to find reasons for confidence from a matchup standpoint. This team is much better than previous years, and I am loving the improvement, but I do not think that they get the job done on Sunday. Packers win, 27-21.