The Green Bay Packers have a chance to build some momentum when they face a banged-up Tennessee Titans team at Lambeau Field on Monday night.
Relations between the quarterback and coach had appeared strained on the sideline last Sunday when Aaron Rodgers let Matt LaFleur know in no uncertain terms what he thought of a conservative playcall in the final minute.
But it ended the right way for 4-6 Green Bay when Mason Crosby kicked the winning field goal in overtime after Rodgers had rallied the team from a 14-point fourth-quarter hole.
The Titans moved to 6-3 with their Week 10 home win over the Denver Broncos, but Mike Vrabel's team continue to be labelled one-dimensional with an overreliance on the run game.
|What||Tennessee Titans @ Green Bay Packers|
|Where||Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin|
|When||20:15 ET/ 17:15 PT, Thursday November 17th 2022|
|How to watch||Amazon Prime Video|
|Odds||TEN Titans +150, GB Packers -170|
However, RB Derrick Henry actually had one of his least productive games of the season last Sunday and the Titans still won 17-10.
The 6-foot-3, 247-pound frame rusher, who is -110 to accumulate over 99.5 yards on Thursday, remains on pace to match his 2020 record of 378 carries with 202 to his name already.
He averages over 100 yards per game and will probably exceed his 19 carries and 58 yards gained of last week when he goes up against the Packers' 26th-ranked run defense.
Stopping the run will be Green Bay's priority as that would force the Titans to take to the air behind QB Ryan Tannehill, who missed two games recently with an ankle injury.
Tennessee could have some protection issues this week too with center Ben Jones in concussion protocol and an uncertain starter.
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The majority of the Titans' injury issues have been on defense though with cornerback Caleb Farley ruled out due to a herniated disk that will probably require season-ending surgery, defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons limited in practice with an ankle issue and linebacker David Long dealing with neck pain.
However, some players returned to practice this week with cornerback Elijah Molden shaking off a groin problem and kicker Randy Bullock also seemingly over a similar injury.
The Packers released Amari Rodgers this week after he fumbled a punt against the Cowboys, but the move reflects how disappointing he has been in a season and a half in Green Bay.
Cornerback Rasul Douglas practiced fully on Wednesday and should start, but wide receiver Romeo Doubs and linebacker De'Vondre Campbell remain out with ankle and knee injuries respectively.
The question the Packers must answer is whether last Sunday's comeback win over the Cowboys was them getting back on track after a miserable month or just an isolated response.
There were some positive signs from some, including from wide receiver Christian Watson and an offensive line that created enough running lanes for Aaron Jones to rack up rushing 138 yards.
Watson put his early-season drops and disappointments behind him by catching three perfectly-thrown Rodgers passes for TDs.
And for only the fifth time this season, the Packers finished with more rushing yards than their opponents. The home team might struggle to repeat that here and it will probably come down to Rodgers' playmaking ability again to keep them in contention.
The Titans are by no means blowing away their opponents as they have scored 20 points or fewer on six occasions this year - but their ground-and-pound approach keeps their defense relatively fresh and able to contain more explosive offenses.
The AFC South leaders have done a great job at getting to opposing QBs all year long, ranking fourth in the NFL in sacks, and got the Broncos' Russell Wilson to the ground six times last Sunday.
So this could be a game to take the Under 41.0 point Total at -110. The Titans, who are 7-2 against the spread this season, should probably look at what the New York Jets did during their win at Lambeau Field last month and use that as the blueprint.
That game was not in the prime-time spotlight and under LaFleur the Packers have played their best when in front of a national audience, going 10-1 in prime-time outings since the ex-Titans offensive coordinator took charge in 2019.
Green Bay's playoff prospects are not done, as they still sit second in the NFC North and just a game behind the San Francisco 49ers for the last wildcard spot, but this is a game they really cannot afford to lose now.