Packers vs. Titans: Three things I'll be watching for
The Green Bay Packers (10-4) will host the Tennessee Titans (5-9) Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field. The Packers clinched the NFC North division with their victory over the Bears in week 15, and still have a chance at locking up the number 2 seed in the NFC for the playoffs. Below are three things I'll be watching for during the game.
Saturday Replaced on Sunday
During the week, the coaching staff make the decision to start Evan Dietrich-Smith at center in place of veteran Jeff Saturday. My sense is this is something the Packers were looking at doing around the time Bryan Bulaga went down with a season ending injury. Bulaga's injury forced Dietrich-Smith to play guard, which is not his natural position. EDS has the body of a center and far less wear on the tires versus Saturday. What I'll be watching to see is his command of the offensive-line. Saturday has clearly lost his pro-bowl form, but he is still as smart as they come and knows exactly when to make shifts in protection. EDS has more pop off the line, but does he have the command?
Green out, Cobb in?
The Packers have rushed for over 100 yards in each of their last four games. Using a trio of backs, they have developed a rotation that allows each back to remain fresh for a given series or situation. Unfortunately, Alex Green did not pass his concussion tests this week and will not play against the Titans. That leaves Ryan Grant and DuJuan Harris to carry the load. What I'll be watching to see is how often Randall Cobb lines up in the backfield as an added dimension to the run game. When used as a running back this season, Cobb has averaged about 9 yards per carry.
Nothing cute here. Crosby has missed a field goal in eight straight games. Luckily, the Packers have lost only one of those games. After missing both of his attempts in week 15, Crosby is on the hot seat to perform despite Mike McCarthy's vote of confidence. It would not surprise me if the Packers had a different kicker come playoff time if Crosby's struggles continue.