Less than four days removed from perhaps their best performance of the year in a winning effort against Dallas, the Green Bay Packers host the 6-3 Tennessee Titans, who are coming off a win of their own in a slugfest against the Denver Broncos. The Packers struggling run-defense is put to the test against all-pro running back Derrick Henry. The last time the Packers went up against the bruising powerback in a 2020 matchup, he was a complete non-factor in the game despite putting up nearly 100 yards. With the Titans offense struggling all year and ranking towards the bottom of the NFL in most offensive stats, the Packers defense may have an easier time game planning for the future HOF running back. That 2020 Packers’ offense dominated the Titans defense thanks to a breakout performance from AJ Dillon. This year’s Titans defense is a much better rushing defense however, ranking top-10 in both rushing yards allowed and rushing touchdowns allowed per game. The Packers will likely lean into the run game once more after the success they saw last week, however it’s likely they may need another strong performance from one of their young receivers similar to the one we saw from Christian Watson.
The Packers go into the game as home favorites despite posting a two-game-worse record than the Titans. Can the Packers ride the momentum of the Cowboys game and continue to run the table in hopes of a playoff berth?
In typical Packers fashion this year, the game started off on the wrong foot, with the defense giving up an 83-yard touchdown drive and the offense going three-and-out on their first drive. The defense fares better on the next drive by forcing the Titans to a quick three-and-out of their own and the offense capitalizes with a drive capped off with a touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Christain Watson on a free-play just before the first quarter ends. A blocked extra point would put the Packers just short of tying the game, at 7-6. The second quarter was ugly for the Packers. The offense couldn’t get anything going, mustering less than 20 yards of offense and possessing the ball for less than two minutes. The defense, while playing okay at times, was just pounded into submission with short run after short run from Henry. The secondary was playing overly soft coverage, allowing for Tannehill to make some easy completions. Despite giving up only three yards per carry to Derrick Henry, the defense simply couldn’t get off the field in the first half, outside of one fourth down stop after an 18 play drive from the Titans. The Titans controlling the time of possession and the Packers inability to keep their defense off the field made things way too easy for the Titans as they cruised to a 14-6 lead at the half.
The second half would be worse for the Packers. The Packers would only muster another Watson touchdown followed by an Aaron Jones two point conversion, along with a field goal while the defense would continue to have no answers for Ryan Tannehill. Tennessee would score two more touchdowns on their way to a blow out victory over the Packers with a final score of 27-17, putting the Packers playoff hopes in jeopardy.
Players of the Game
Christian Watson: Once again Christain Watson would shine and today was the only bright spot on this Packers offense. Ranking up four catches, 48 yards, and two more touchdowns, Christian Watson has broken out to be one of Rodgers top guys and shows promise for the future of the Packers receiving corps.
With this loss today, the Packers drop to 4-7 and would have to essentially win out against very tough opponents to even come close to making the playoffs. Even if they do win out, there is still a lot to be desired with this Packers team. There are simply too many holes to fill and too much questionable play calling and scheming for the Packers to be competitive on a weekly basis.
If Joe Barry wasn’t on the hot seat before this game, he should be now. Scheming up soft zone coverage against a wide receiver group that is not as skilled as your corners is a recipe for failure regardless of who you’re playing and it showed tonight. Either Joe Barry needs to change the scheme, or he needs to go, plain and simple.
The Packers fall to 4-7 and go into a bye week in this upcoming week. They will have a chance to fix what isn’t working and game planning for a tough matchup against the 8-1 Philadelphia Eagles.