Behind Enemy Lines: Part III

Our Scout.com experts, Bill Huber of Packer Report and Doug Farrar of FootballOutsiders.com, go Behind Enemy Lines to take a closer look at Sunday's Week 9 matchup between the Packers and Titans at LP Field. Let's finish this three-part series with some matchups to watch and final predictions.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: PACKERS OFFENSE VS. TITANS DEFENSE
Green Bay Interior OL vs. Tennessee DTs:
Twice a year, the Packers battle the Vikings' Pat Williams and Kevin Williams. This will be even a bigger challenge. Albert Haynesworth (six sacks) is the NFL's best two-way defensive tackle. He's so big and quick that he's hard to handle either in the run game or in pass protection. His sidekick, Tony Brown, has four sacks, and unheralded rookie Jason Jones provides quality depth.

Left guard Daryn Colledge will get plenty of help from center Scott Wells against Haynesworth, but it will be up to right guard Jason Spitz to take care of Brown.

Green Bay WRs vs. Tennessee DBs: The Packers run up to five-wide sets, and all their pass-catchers are yards-after-catch monsters who take short routes forward with the best of them. Cornerbacks Cortland Finnegan and Nick Harper will have their work cut out for them, but they're up to the challenge. Safety Chris Hope intercepted two Peyton Manning passes last Monday night, and the secondary worked well in letting short passes through and closing quickly on receivers before big gains were possible.

As Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers hits his targets underneath, those targets will have to deal with a clamp-down defense that looks to stop anything big in space.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: TITANS OFFENSE VS. PACKERS DEFENSE
RB Chris Johnson vs. Everyone:
The Packers' defense has struggled against backs with breakaway speed. That includes Week 3, when Dallas rookie Felix Jones' speed blew away a defense that was being pounded by Marion Barber. The rookie Johnson, perhaps the fastest player in the NFL, is averaging 5.1 yards per attempt while carrying the ball 17.4 times a game.


OT Michael Roos
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

The defensive ends must not let Johnson break containment, the linebackers need to be sure with their tackling, the cornerbacks must beat the receivers' blocks and the safeties have to prevent disaster.

OTs Michael Roos and David Stewart vs. DE Aaron Kampman: Kampman will line up left or right (mostly left), and he's a dangerous presence in pass pressure from either side. The Titans have the most underrated offensive line in the league, led by Roos.

The Packers have been unable to generate pressure from their front four with the exception of Kampman, who has put up six sacks this season and leads the league in QB hits according to play-by-play data assembled by FootballOutsiders.com. If the Titans' line is able to contain Kampman, it will be up to Green Bay's linebackers to get additional pressure on Kerry Collins without abandoning rushing lanes and letting the Titans run wild.

THE TITANS WILL WIN THIS GAME IF ...
... they maintain business as usual. The Titans defense is strong enough, and their rushing attack is consistent enough, that any team will find them tough to beat. Eating enough of the clock and enjoying drive consistency will keep Green Bay's passing game off the field, and opportunities will dry up. That's how teams like the Titans beat their opponents – by wearing them down over time and capitalizing on mistakes.


LB Nick Barnett
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

THE TITANS WILL LOSE THIS GAME IF ...
... the Packers are able to take a page from the Colts' ability to counter the run with swarming linebackers around a semi-solid defensive line. Tennessee's passing game isn't going to put fear into any defense, leaving the preponderance of the focus on the ground game. Nick Barnett and A.J. Hawk hold the key to an upset in their hands.

THE PACKERS WILL WIN THIS GAME IF ...
... they can run the ball with the same effectiveness as they did against Seattle and Indianapolis. As long as the Packers can avoid third-and-long situations, Rodgers – perhaps with his full complement of receivers for the first time this season – should be able to keep the chains moving.

THE PACKERS WILL LOSE THIS GAME IF ...
... the Titans can successfully follow Dallas' game plan and bludgeon the Packers with the one-two punch of Johnson and Lendale White. Even with the 35-year-old Collins at quarterback, the Titans offense will have a good-enough day if it's facing third-and-short all game.

FINAL PREDICTIONS
Doug Farrar:
Tennessee's ground game will be too strong for the Green Bay defense, and this will decide the game. The Titans' secondary will be challenged by Greg Jennings and his cohorts, but their aggression and closing speed should win the day. No matter how many advanced offensive theories you throw at this game, football is still physical above all else. This is how the Titans have been winning, and this is how they'll beat the Packers this Sunday ... TITANS 24, PACKERS 16.

Bill Huber: The Packers get a huge break – unfair, really – in that they had a bye week to prepare for this game while the Titans just beat their biggest rival on Monday night. Who made that schedule, Ted Thompson? ... PACKERS 20, TITANS 13.

To go back and read Part I, where Bill answers five questions from Doug, Click Here. For Part II, where Doug answers five questions from Bill, Click Here.

Bill Huber is the Lead Analyst for Packer Report. Doug Farrar is a Staff Writer for FootballOutsiders.com.


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