Packers vs. Titans – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 55 TEN 7

Clay Matthews vs. Tennessee TitansGreen Bay Packers vs. Tennessee Titans:

My unfitered game day running blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.


Inactive for Packers today: 

WR Jordy Nelson, RB James Starks, S Charles Woodson, TE Tom Crabtree, RB Alex Green, DL CJ Wilson, DL Jerel Worthy

Inactive for Titans today:  

QB R. Smith, WR K. Wright, CB R. Mouton, LB C. McCarthy, C K. Matthews, T M. Otto, DE S. Solomon


Game Notes:

Ryan Grant gets the start at running back for the Packers today. Who’d a thunk it?

Evan Dietrich Smith starts at center for Jeff Saturday. Saturday’s body just breaking down.

Donald Driver is active for what will probably be his final regular season start Lambeau Field.

Packers are playing for a 2nd seed and a first round playoff bye. They need help from Seattle tonight (how ironic) to beat the 49ers.



Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Does clinching the NFC North impact your preparation: It really doesn’t. Today’s win is very important to our football mode. Chance to move up or at least clinch the 3rd seed.

Different from last year?: A totally different mindset. You don’t have to listen to the 0utside voices because there are none. Last year, there was the subconscious of “hey we’re in”.

EDS at center: It was a conversation that started earlier in the week. jeff has been fighting through, giving us everything he ha. A bit of a projection here with EDS.   EDS on a short leash… Jeff Saturday has been a consummate professional.

Rodgers better this year?: Last year was smooth sailing. It’s been a different ride this year. He’s had to be very disciplined and deal with the constant change around him. Has been a great year for him to grow and he’s a rock. he always goes out and gives us his best.

Chris Johnson: You talk about a home run back, he and AP are the two best at taking it to the house when you give them a crease.

Jake Locker: Excellent athlete, can make all the throws. We need to keep him in the pocket.

Titans D: They have to be excited about the way they’re playing the last month. This is going to be a hell of a contest today.  This will be a bigger challenge than I think people think.



Keys to the Game: Green Bay Packers vs. Tennessee Titans

Chris Johnson and Tramon Williams

The Packers need to bear down on Johnson this Sunday and keep him from running free

I’m going to depart a bit from the usual Key Matchups format because the Tennessee Titans are an unfamiliar opponent of the Green Bay Packers and also due to the injuries on both sides.

We will return to our regularly scheduled “Key Matchups” next week when the Packers visit the Minnesota Vikings to round out the 2012 regular season.  For this week, it’s more of a “What to Watch For”.

Titans Running Back Chris Johnson

Johnson gets hidden, sometimes even forgotten, in Tennessee because they are one of the smaller markets.  And let’s be honest, the Titans have been very forgettable the past four seasons.  But 1,200 yards and five touchdowns is nothing to overlook this week for the Packers.

Johnson had a 94 yard touchdown run in Tennessee’s Monday night’s dismantling of the New York Jets.  With that run, Johnson set a new NFL record with six career touchdown runs over 80 yards.

He’s still a very good running back and clearly has the ability to break a long run at any time.  Green Bay struggled to contain another great running back three weeks ago when Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had a long scoring run and ran wild all day.

It’s asking a lot of any defense to contain a top back, but Green Bay has had recent success defending the run and can again this week.  It comes down to the one-one-one matchups at the line, specifically with Ryan Pickett and BJ Raji.  Each played very well last week against Chicago and Matt Forte.

Tennessee’s offensive line grades out better than does the Bears’ but with top wide receiver Kendall Wright out this week, the Titans won’t have as many options in the passing game. Green Bay may be able to focus more on loading up the box, as they say.

If all else fails, just tackle.  The Packers have had more than their fair share of tackling issues over the past two seasons and it cost them in the Vikings game.  Fortunately it didn’t cost them the game, but in a close contest, a missed tackle can be the one play that prevents them from getting the “W”.