TNF Preview: Week 11 (’22) – Titans at Packers

I was looking to extend my Thursday night streak last week, but the Falcons let me down so I am back to square one. The Packers have made a habit of letting me down but, naturally, they came back from 14 points down to win last week when I finally gave up and picked against them. Now they host the Titans on a short week while looking to keep their season alive.

(+152) TEN Titans 6-3 at (-180) Green Bay Packers 4-6 (-3, O/U 41)

These teams have been on very different paths this season. If not for the overtime win over Dallas, the Packers would be on a six-game losing streak. As is, they have lost five of their last six games after getting off to a 3-1 start and their OT win over the Cowboys kept their season from the trash heap.

On the other sideline, Tennessee got off to an 0-2 start then won five in a row, six of their last seven. They were even very close to beating the Chiefs in Kansas City, without Ryan Tannehill so they could be on a seven-game win streak right now. It’s fair to say they are pretty hot after looking awful early in the season.

There is no time like the present for the Packers. They get the short week at home and it’s going to be a Lambeau Field kinda night as the temperatures are expected to be sub-freezing and snow could be on the horizon as well. That doesn’t bode well for the Titans who got blown out the last time they played on the Frozen Tundra in 2020.

Ryan Tannehill struggled mightily in that game and he doesn’t have A.J. Brown or Jonnu or Corey Davis at his disposal this time. Derrick Henry is still going to be King Henry as he was in the 2020 match-up, but he got outshined by the combo of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon in that one as the Pack hung 234 rushing yards on the Titans.

Tennesee’s defense has improved since then, and their bread and butter is run defense. They are 2nd best rush defense in terms of yards per game and tied for 3rd best in yards allowed per carry, but that unit is not at 100%. Because of the conditions, I am expecting this to be a trench war.


PlayerPositionInjuryMonTueWedGame Status
Randy BullockKRight CalfDNPDNPDNPOut
Amani HookerSShoulderFPFPLPOut
Lonnie JohnsonDBHamstringDNPDNPDNPOut
Ben JonesCConcussionDNPDNPDNPOut
Elijah MoldenDBGroinLPFPLPQuestionable
Jeffery SimmonsDTAnkleDNPLPDNPQuestionable

Ground-and-pound football usually benefits the team with a better defense and better run game. However, the gap between the Titans’ rushing attack and Green Bay’s isn’t as drastic as it may appear on the surface. Tennessee averages 133.4 YPG on the ground but that’s only 4 yards better than the Packers who average slightly more yards per carry.

Meanwhile, the Packers’ advantage through the air is significant as they put up nearly 100 more passing YPG and have twice as many TDs through the air (tied for 5th most) despite this being a “down year” for Aaron Rodgers. The question mark for this game, as it was for significant portions of last season, is the offensive line’s health.


PlayerPositionInjuryMonTueWedGame Status
David BakhtiariOTKneeDNPDNPDNPQuestionable
De’Vondre CampbellILBKneeDNPDNPDNPOut
Romeo DoubsWRAnkleDNPDNPDNPOut
Shemar Jean-CharlesCBAnkleDNPDNPLPDoubtful
Elgton JenkinsOTKneeDNPDNPDNPQuestionable

David Bakhtiari missed most of last season, from what I can remember, and Elegton Jenkins was consistently injured as well so it’s a big area of concern, especially against a good defensive front. Rookie wideout Romeo Doubs is out with Randall Cobb already on injured reserve, so we are going to see if fellow rookie Christian Watson can elevate the team as he did against the Cowboys. If you are a Packers fan, another name you don’t want to see on the injury report is De’Vondre Campbell. I was never high on this Green Bay defense and they are allowing more than 140 rushing YPG already, so Campbell’s absence could be massive.

Conversely, the Titans’ defense is weakest against the pass. They currently give up the 2nd most passing YPG and the 6th most TDs, but they do get a lot of sacks (tied for 4th). So, we’ve got a situation where the Titans have a favorable matchup for what they want to do on the ground, and the Packers, or at least Rodgers, is in a good spot to have a strong day against a bad pass defense.

Rodgers lit Tennessee up for 4 TDs in their last meeting

Necessity is a big deal in football and that’s squarely on the Packers’ side here. Sure, Tennessee would like to win but they don’t need to win. They are 3-0 in the AFC South and have a 2-game lead over the Colts in the division while also holding the tiebreaker head-to-head. A loss for them doesn’t matter nearly as much for them as a win means for Green Bay and that may sound silly but it’s important and probably why the injury report looks the way it does for TEN.

This is a tough game to pick, but it’s going about philosophy. We have seen the Green Bay secondary play very well but why throw against them when it’s been so easy to run? They still have to contain Henry enough to force some throws and make Tannehill have to beat them. With Tennessee being so stout up front, can they also contain Rodgers? It will be easier without Davanta Adams out there in green & gold, but the Pack has some young talent at WR that may factor in.

If Henry doesn’t go berserk, I think the Packers win but that’s easier said than done (Photo Credit: Vox)

The Titans are 7-2 against the spread this year and if the weather is really bad, that could help them do it once again here. However, being at home in the cold, on the short week, coming off a big conference win, I have to go with the Packers and hope. I may live to regret it, as I have many times this season, but I feel like they can win an ugly contest on a Tannehill turnover.

Tennessee is also without their usual kicker, Randy Bullock, who is dealing with a hamstring injury. Josh Lambo has NFL experience but he may be called upon to make some high-pressure kicks and I could see a missed kick or two, in bad conditions, affecting the outcome of the game.

Pick: GB | ATS: TEN +3 | O/U: Under 41| FINAL: GB 20 – 18 TEN

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