Sunday Night Football reaction: Packers are NFC's best, and it isn't close
Sunday Night Football is in the books, and I think we learned a lot from the Green Bay Packers’ dominant 40-14 win over the Tennessee Titans. The Titans briefly threatened early in the third quarter, but for the most part this game was a snoozer from start to finish. All the Packers need to do is win next week to guarantee a first-round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs, while the Titans are now in danger of losing the AFC South.
Let’s dive into the two biggest takeaways from the primetime showdown:
The Packers are the best team in the NFC
The Packers are the best team in the conference, and after tonight I don’t think it’s particularly close. They put to bed once and for all the narrative that they couldn’t beat winning teams, smothering a very good Titans squad from start to finish. They also quelled a lot of the concerns about their run defense by mostly keeping Derrick Henry in check, which is no small feat.
Aaron Rodgers has made it look easy all season, and he made a strong case for his MVP bid while averaging 9.2 yards per attempt with four touchdowns in what turned out to be terrible weather. The ground game was also clicking, with rookie A.J. Dillon breaking out to the tune of 124 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
The offense is very balanced, and the defense showed on Sunday night they’ll show up when it matters most. The Saints have issues in their secondary and Drew Brees can’t push the ball down the field, while the Seahawks haven’t looked good at all the past month or two. As of right now, I don’t see much competition for the mantle of top team in the NFC. Green Bay should put a nice bow on their season with a win over Chicago next week and finish at an impressive 13-3.
Aaron Rodgers 🤝 Davante Adams
— Pickswise (@Pickswise) December 28, 2020
The Titans have major issues
I’ve had issues with the Titans all year, and those were only exacerbated by this debacle. I’ve been skeptical that their offense is really as good as many of the metrics say they are, and I’m not sure how sustainable their ground-based attack is. When the conditions weren’t ideal Ryan Tannehill struggled mightily, completing only 11 of 24 passes for 121 yards and two interceptions.
The defense is an abomination, as it has been for most of the season. Their issues on that side of the ball were masked by the fact their two previous games were against lifeless Jaguars and Lions teams. Remember, the last time they played a competent team before Sunday night, they gave up 41 points in an embarrassing loss to the Browns.
They quietly have one of the most exploitable secondaries in the league, and they have arguably the worst pass-rush in the league. Astoundingly, the Titans have only 14 sacks on the year, the worst mark in the NFL. Quite simply, they can’t just ride Henry to the Super Bowl, not against elite offenses like the Packers.
Tennessee will now likely lose the AFC South if they fall to the Texans next week. I certainly don’t think it’s a guarantee that they win. It took them until overtime to squeak past Houston at home the first time these teams played, and now they’re having to go on the road. The Titans made a magical run to the AFC Championship Game last year, and I don’t think they’ll be able to catch lightning in a bottle twice.Last updated: Mon 28th December 2020