Tennessee Titans (5-9SU, 5-9 ATS) vs. Green Bay Packers (10-4 SU, 8-6 ATS)
NFL Week 16
Date/Time: December 23, 1pm ET
Where: Lambeau Field
byEvergreen,Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Ten +13/GB -13
Over/Under Total: 46.5
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It seems like the NFL regular season has flown by as Week 16 is already here and that means it is put up or shut up time for any team still trying to punch a playoff ticket.The Green Bay Packers are in the draw after winning the NFC North last week so they look to potentially secure another home game in the playoffs with a win Sunday against the visiting Tennessee Titans.The Titans enter the week at 5-9 and look to get some things going in the right direction for QB Jake Locker as they head into next year.The Packers have shrugged off the bad loss at the Giants from a few weeks ago and would like to keep the momentum going as they seem to be trending on a similar path as two seasons ago when they made their Superbowl run.
This game is one of the most lopsided matchups on the schedule as the online betting sites have Green Bay as a thirteen point favorite.That is a large number but the Titans are coming off a short week and have struggled on the road this year.Tennessee has actually won the last three times these teams have played but those games come from a stretch between 2001 and 2008 and the Titans have looked pretty bad against good teams this season.Tennessee has just two ATS wins in their last seven road games and just seven wins against the spread in the last 28 meetings against winning teams.Green Bay enters the week 5-1 ATS in the last six weeks and have 20 ATS wins in the last 29 games at Lambeau.
The Titans will come in with a few good feelings as they just dropped the Jets on Monday Night Football but the 14-10 win hardly impressed anyone and lets be honest about what kind of team the Jets are this year.Tennessee has struggled against the likes of New England and Houston and could face another big defeat if they cant get some sustained offense.Locker is a very athletic signal caller but his play has been just too inconsistent to put points on the board and his 57% completion rate just doesnt cut it in todays NFL.Chris Johnson is over 1,000 yards again for the fifth straight season and if he can hit a home run like he did on MNF then maybe Locker can find something against a Packer defense that will give up yards.Nate Washington and Kenny Britt should actually be able to find some success as the Green Bay pass defense has had trouble shutting down receivers at times.
The Packers didnt look great in winning any of their last three games but all three were division matches and winning ugly seems to be good for the Pack after dominating teams so often last year.Green Bay is getting healthy at the right time with the return of Clay Matthews last week and may get Charles Woodson back for Sunday.The coaching staff may choose to utilize Woodson as a safety upon his return but his leadership is likely more important than his actual play on the field.Jordy Nelson is the other injury of note and his return is questionable for the game as he nurses a hamstring but Randall Cobb and James Jones have filled in more than capably when either Nelson or Greg Jennings have missed time.Aaron Rodgers is probably having his best season this year despite a small statistical falloff from 2011 and the MVP assures everyone that his turned ankle is a non-issue and he will definitely suit up this weekend.Rodgers has hit on nearly 67% of his passes so far for 32 touchdowns against just 8 interceptions and is ultimately responsible for the Packers scoring as Green Bay has just 5 rushing touchdowns entering week 16.
There is plenty left to motivate the Packers as home field and playoff seeding will have them looking to win out and, of course, the Lambeau Field crowd will be intense on a holiday weekend.It might be a long afternoon for the Titans if they fall behind early and mail it in but Green Bay failed to cover the spread against a Jacksonville squad that was absent MJD earlier in the year and it appears that the Titans are invested in Locker and his energy has kept the effort high in Tennessee.The Packers have played down to opponents this year already so Im sure Mike McCarthy will remind his crew that going on cruise control is never a good thing for any NFL team.
I think this game breaks on the key stat of points allowed.Some call it defensive efficiency but if you look at the two defenses side by side, you dont see large differences in yards allowed with Green Bay giving up an average of 340 and Tennessee at 368 yet the Packers yield 20.9 points per game with the Titans allowing just over 28.The Packers bend but the Titans break and that just about sums up how you win a game 24-20 or lose one by the same score.
Now all of that may have you thinking that Im calling for a 30-13 Green Bay win but Im actually going the other way.I think there is a bit of a learning curve for the Packers offense against a lesser known foe and that keeps Rodgers from getting on track right away.Mason Crosby shouldnt be counted on finish off any Packers drives with a made field goal at this point so that is another reason that this one will stay close longer than it should.If Tennessee finds any luck in getting the ball moving, either on the ground with Johnson or with Locker, they should be able to put up enough points to get the cover in this one.Green Bay does not run the ball well but will stay with the run to save hits on Rodgers so a Packer second half lead doesnt often stretch the way a Patriots or Saints one might.Green Bay gets the win but only by eleven so take the Titans and the points.
Green Bay 24 Tennessee13
EvergreensPick to Cover the Point Spread: Tennessee Titans plus the points.
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