Titans vs Packers Game Preview
Tennessee heads up to Green Bay in a rare meeting with the Packers. Both franchises are undergoing changes in the front office with the Titans now under new coach Mike Vrabel while Green Bay will be under new general manager Brian Gutekunst.
The two teams had mirror seasons in 2018. Tennessee snapped an eight-season playoff drought while Green Bay ended an eight-season postseason streak. With improvements on both fronts, these two teams are closer to each other more than ever.
They finally returned to the playoffs but it came at the expense of Mike Mularkey. Under his second full year, prized quarterback Marcus Mariota had his worst season throwing 15 interceptions to just 13 touchdowns and playing hurt for most of the year.
With a new coaching staff and additions to the offence, Mariota will be given all the opportunity to succeed Improvements to the defence also means this team will continue trending in the right direction.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers missed the postseason due to Aaron Rodgers going down with an injury in week 6. They finished the season with a 3-7 record echoing just hapless they are without their franchise player. With his return, expect Green Bay to once again be Super Bowl contenders.
Along with Rodgers’ return, Gutekunst reinforced the team by adding much-needed help on the secondary. Green Bay heads into 2018 with much-improved passing offence and defence.
This will be a close game as both teams have improved. The Packers added weapons to their passing game while bringing in reinforcements to the secondary. The Titans bolstered their running attack and defence. This game will serve as a test drive for both teams but the edge goes to Green Bay as Tennessee will adjust to their new coaches.
Titans vs Packers Head-to-Head Records
Tennessee and Green Bay have faced each other 12 times beginning in 1972 when the Titans were still the Houston Oilers. Tennessee/Houston leads the series 7-5 and 4-1 as the Titans. It’s an interesting split as the Packers have generally had a better record in the 2000s.
Looking at the stats, Green Bay has seemingly outscored the Titans but that’s skewed as the one win they have in the last five meetings was a 55-7 blowout. The Packers have averaged more passing yards mainly because they have trailed in most of the games. The Titans conversely average more rushing yards.
The last time they met was in 2016, a game the Titans won 47-25. Mariota outdueled Rodgers dropping four touchdowns with no interceptions and a whopping 149.8 QB rating. Rodgers passed for 371 yards but had a 2-2 touchdown-interception ratio.
With the Packers rebuilding their secondary and the Titans adding depth to their pass rush, both franchises are ready should they meet each other again. It could be another shootout but not without a fight.
Tennessee Titans Recent History
It hasn’t been easy being a Titans fan. The franchise enjoyed mild success under Jeff Fisher but since his departure in 2011, they have gone through four head coaches. They have remained competitive for the most part and are now just returning to being a formidable team having just returned to the postseason.
The Titans hit rock bottom in 2014 finishing with only two wins, their worst record since relocating to Tennessee. But it was a blessing in disguise as they landed Mariota, who could be their best quarterback since Steve McNair in the early 2000s.
With a new coaching staff that is dedicated to playing around Mariota, now is the time for the Titans to make a run. The rest of the division is warming up but the Titans have the personnel to not just beat them but make some noise in the playoffs.
Green Bay Packers Recent History
Not many franchises get to enjoy consecutive success like the Packers and it’s thanks to landing elite quarterbacks like Rodgers. After Favre’s exodus, Rodgers took the reins in 2008 and just two seasons later led the team to its fourth Super Bowl.
Since the championship season in 2010, the Packers remained Super Bowl contenders but haven’t returned to the big dance. They flirted with perfection in 2011 finishing 15-1 but were eliminated by the Giants, who would go on to win the Super Bowl in that year.
What Green Bay has lacked is a championship-calibre defence. Rodgers and the offence can only do so much. But if the Packers find ways to shore up the defence, they could finally get over the hump and return to the championship game.
Tennessee Titans Outlook
The Titans spent a good chunk of their picks on improving their passing defence. They gave up the eighth-most passing yards last year. Second-round pick Harold Landry adds depth to their pass rush and with no true shutdown corner, the team hopes Malcolm Butler (CB) and Kevin Byard (S) can make a difference as key playmakers in the secondary.
On offence, Tennessee signed former Patriot running back Dion Lewis. He’ll form a nice one-two combo with Derrick Henry and will be a dual-threat off the backfield particularly thanks to his receiving skills. Adding depth to the o-line should also help keep Mariota healthy.
Tennessee made solid additions through the draft and free agency and these should pay dividends. The Titans made the postseason despite a horrendous year from their quarterback. If Mariota clicks with the new offence and the defence keeps it together, this Titans team will be contenders for years to come.
Green Bay Packers Outlook
Don’t look now but Rodgers is turning 35 at the end of the year. While 35 is the new 25 in this day and age, he’ll reach a point where his skill-set is going to be reduced to just being a pocket passer. The offensive line is sufficient but will need more depth in case injuries strikes again.
Improving the defence and running game will also take some weight off Rodgers’ shoulders. The Packers addressed these concerns in the draft by taking Jaire Alexander and Joshua Jackson, two talented corners who critically upgrade their porous pass defence and took Cole Madison to upgrade their run blocking.
Making little tweaks all around the right parts of the team is already a good sign. Keeping Rodgers healthy and decreasing his load each season will go a long way in extending his career. If the Packers can continue to build on their defence, they could add a fifth and maybe a sixth Lombardi trophy.
Both teams are a bit lacking on defence so expect this game to have some scoring. The Packers will start Brett Hundley, who is a dual-threat quarterback who has shades of Rodgers’ game albeit not as prolific. The Titans will likely roll with former first-round pick Blaine Gabbert.
The inexperience on both teams will be glaring. The Packers drafted plenty of talent on the defensive side of the ball particularly in the secondary and the Titans have a platoon of rookies in their front seven. Things can get ugly quickly.
There is also a shift in offence on both fronts. The Packers have brought in Joe Philbin as their new offensive coordinator while the Titans will be transitioning from a run-heavy offence to a more dynamic passing offence under Vrabel’s staff.
It could come down to the quarterbacks. Hundley isn’t the soundest quarterback but he’s less predictable than Gabbert and can attack defenses in more ways. Gabbert will have a steadier arm but is limited in what he can do. It will be tight but give the edge to the home team.