Green Bay Packers (4-4) at Tennessee Titans (4-5)
SERIES HISTORY: 12th meeting. Titans lead the series, 6-5. The last time these two teams met was in 2012 at Lambeau Field, and it was bad for the Titans, who were hammered 55-7.
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Packers go into Sunday's game in Nashville against the Titans limping literally, with a slew of injuries, and figuratively, with two straight losses. The start of Green Bay's rare three-game road swing isn't made any easier. The Packers may be getting highly touted young quarterback Marcus Mariota in the midst of a breakthrough stretch.
The second-year pro has completed 69 percent of his passes for 583 yards, with five touchdowns and two interceptions, in the last two games.
The Packers' defense, which still could be without a few key players, is focused first and foremost on stopping the run. Mariota is merely a complementary piece in the Titans' third-ranked rushing attack, which averages 144.2 yards per game and is led by veteran halfback DeMarco Murray. The sixth-year pro ranks second in the league with 807 rushing yards, just behind Dallas rookie Ezekiel Elliott's 891. Green Bay has the league's top-rated run defense, allowing an average of only 75.8 yards per outing. However, Elliott gashed the Packers for 157 yards in the Cowboys' lopsided win at Green Bay on Oct. 16. Murray enters play Sunday with an average of 4.6 yards per rush. He has four games with at least 100 rushing yards, including twice in his last three outings.
Meanwhile, Green Bay figures to continue to throw the football a lot. Aaron Rodgers has averaged 45 pass attempts the last five games as the Packers compensate for injuries to Eddie Lacy and James Starks. Wide receiver Ty Montgomery has been the starter there two of the last three games. The Titans have a top-10 run defense, giving up an average of just 96.4 yards, so Rodgers will look to exploit the hosts' shaky pass coverage.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Packers QB Aaron Rodgers vs. Titans DC Dick LeBeau. Rodgers and the Packers haven't been their usual selves this year, but he is still plenty dangerous. LeBeau will try to draft some exotic blitzes and coverage schemes to keep him off-balance if he can on Sunday.
--Titans QB Marcus Mariota vs. Packers CB HaHa Clinton Dix. Clinton Dix had two interceptions against Andrew Luck last week, and Mariota has had issues on occasion with putting the ball up for grabs with interceptions. The Chargers picked him off twice last Sunday. He will have to be careful with Clinton Dix showing a knack for finding the football.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Titans WR Rishard Matthews. After being relegated to a rotation with now-retired Andre Johnson in the first portion of the season, Matthews has emerged as a go-to target for Marcus Mariota. He now has 33 catches to lead Titans wide receivers and has five touchdown receptions.
INJURY REPORT: Green Bay -- Out: LB Clay Matthews (hamstring), CB Damarious Randall (groin), C J.C. Tretter (knee). Doubtful: TE Jared Cook (ankle). Questionable: S Micah Hyde (shoulder), RB James Starks (knee). Tennessee -- Questionable: LB Aaron Wallace (shoulder).
FAST FACTS: Packers WR Davante Adams has caught five TD passes in the past six games and has 29 catches over the past three. WR Randall Cobb has scored in three straight games. ... Packers WR/RB Ty Montgomery is averaging 107 scrimmage yards per game (67.3 receiving) over the past three. ... Packers LB Blake Martinez ranks third among NFC rookies with 44 tackles. ... Titans QB Marcus Mariota has now accounted for at least four TDs five times in his first 21 games -- most in NFL history. ... Titans RB DeMarco Murray is second in the NFL with 807 rushing yards. Since 2014, he the league with 3,354 rushing yards and 26 rushing TDs. ... Titans rookie WR Tajae Sharpe is third among rookies with 27 catches.
PREDICTION: Neither of these defenses has been able to stop teams with good quarterbacks recently. Both lost shootouts to Andrew Luck's Colts, so expect a close barnburner with Tennessee's running game making the difference.
OUR PICK: Titans, 35-33.