The Green Bay Packers can make it two wins in a row and start building some momentum toward a late-season playoff push by beating the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night at Lambeau Field. The Titans don't seem nearly as desperate, since they're well on their way to winning the uncompetitive AFC South by default.
We get our first taste of a winter-weather NFL game tonight when the Tennessee Titans (6-3) snowplow into frigid Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers (4-6).
Snow is falling on game day, and kickoff temperatures will be in the 20s (note that the field is now covered, and conditions could change at kickoff).
This is an intriguing matchup for several reasons. Tennessee doesn't impress anyone with their performances this season, yet all they do is win games and cover pointspreads. Tennessee is 7-2 ATS this season, one of the best marks in the NFL. The Titans, who were last year's top seed in the AFC, are well on their way to yet another AFC South title, and barring unforeseen disaster, will get it.
Green Bay is quite another story. The Packers were crippled by a 5-game losing streak prior to their dramatic comeback 31-28 win in overtime against Dallas. That victory saved the Packers' season, at least for another week. While Green Bay won't win the NFC North this season, they still could factor into the Wild Card chase. Defeating Tennessee would be a huge step forward and a confidence builder for a team that's been struggling all season.
The line is surprising given the records and performances of these two teams. According to Spreads.ca, the Packers are -3.5 points favourites. The total has dropped due to weather and is now down to 41.
It makes no sense that Tennessee is getting more than a field goal. This is a power-run team, and the weather conditions could actually work in their favour.
On the other hand, the Packers may have finally broken out of a funk. They put up their best offensive performance of the season against the Cowboys last Sunday. Green Bay eclipsed 22 points for the first time since Week 4. Contrast this with Tennessee’s offense which has struggled to score and hasn’t posted more than 21 points in each of its last five outings. Now back from injury. QB Ryan Tannehill is battling a bas ankle and the Titans' lackluster passing game ranks #27th in the NFL. That places lots of pressure on superstar RB Derrick Henry, who has crushed the opposition for 731 yards rushing in the past six games.
While the Titans have a much better record than the Packers, betting markets aren't respecting those wins or the team’s current victory streak. Tennessee has taken recent wins against Denver, Houston, Washington, Las Vegas, and Indianapolis (twice) — all of which are losing teams (sans Washington, at .500) with a combined 15-30-2 SU mark on the year.
Bottom line: This is a tough game to predict. If forced to make a pick, we probably take the Titans because of the value with the hook on the field goal. Even if Green Bay wins, they haven't shown any capability to blow away opponents, especially versus a team as good as the Titans. We lean towards Tennessee +3.5