The Packers march to the playoffs, currently as the NFC North Division champion and potentially as a first round bye holding number two seed, continues Sunday at Lambeau Field when they welcome the Tennessee Titans for only the 6th time to Green Bay. This will be the 11th meeting all-time against the infrequent visitors from the AFC South Division. The Titans lead the series 6-4 and their last call on Lambeau was a forgettable 48-27 romp which punctuated an early season 4 game losing streak against Mike Sherman's Pack in 2004. The very first Packers game played in a dome came against the nomadic franchise when they were the Houston Oilers, 40 years ago in the Astrodome. The team moved to Nashville after the 1997 season. Led by Jeff Fisher, the Titans came within two yards of a Super Bowl title after the '99 season, falling to the St. Louis Rams at the Georgia Dome. The team is now coached by Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive lineman Mike Munchak, in his second season. Last year, they were a tiebreaker away from the playoffs at 9-7 but this season, the Titans have been wiped out by injury. They are 5-9 because the offensive line, the entire starting line, is on injured reserve. They are playing with their 4th different center. It's amazing Chris Johnson has still put up over 1100 yards rushing, spiced by his 94 yard touchdown run last Monday night against the Jets. Johnson is clearly the star of this team but lately, there are fewer home runs and more strikeouts on the ground. Jake Locker is the quarterback of the present and future, drafted 8th overall and spent the year behind ex-Packer Matt Hasselbeck. He's missed a handful of games this year with a shoulder injury on his non-throwing side. Strong and athletic, Locker needs some NFL quarterback grooming, evidenced by his completion percentage of 57 and a passer rating of 76.5, 28th in the league. Rookie Kendall Wright of Baylor is Locker's favorite target with 62 receptions. Defensively, Tennessee operates a 4-3 with a handful of effective pass rushers. Defensive ends Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley along with outside linebackers Akeem Ayers and Zach Brown all have four and half or five sacks. Jason McCourty is the leader of the secondary and has four interceptions, two coming last Monday night. Tennessee wsa 3-4 with an overtime win versus Detroit and back to back victories over Pittsburgh and Buffalo before the injuries, 15 players on IR, started catching up with them, losing five of their last 7. They will need a near perfect game to pull off the upset.
As for the Packers, they might head into the game thin at running back. Alex Green didn't practice all week coming off a concussion leaving DuJuan Harris and Ryan Grant to carry the load. T.J. Lang also worked through a concussion and bout of the flu but is expected to play. Can't say the same for Jordy Nelson and his hamstring or C.J. Wilson's knee injury. Charles Woodson has had another week of practice and there's a chance he could make his return Sunday. There are several storylines for the Packers heading into this interconference matchup that I explored in the locker room this week and on the link below, you'll hear about them for yourself. I'll have a post-game analysis with locker room quotes posted Sunday night.