Skip to main content

Packers look to ride momentum into Thursday showdown with Titans

Aaron Rodgers hopes offense can build on overtime win over Cowboys

QB Aaron Rodgers
QB Aaron Rodgers

GREEN BAY – Less than 48 hours removed from their emotional overtime victory over Dallas, the Packers were back on the practice field in preparation for Thursday night's matchup with Tennessee.

As treacherous as short turnarounds can be, both the team and quarterback Aaron Rodgers have enjoyed a fair amount of success under the Thursday night lights.

The Packers have won three of their four Thursday contests under Head Coach Matt LaFleur and six of their last eight. The results have been equally positive for Rodgers, who has a 112.5 passer rating in his last six Thursday starts, with 15 touchdowns with one interception.

"I feel like we've done pretty good on these Thursday games over the years," said Rodgers following Tuesday's walkthrough.

"It's obviously a big advantage for us to sleep in our own beds and have our crowd. But I think it just comes down to the study time, just being locked in. These are long days. We're going through a lot of different plays. We're cramming it in, two days into one day."

The Packers extracted some much-needed momentum from Sunday's 31-28 overtime triumph over the Cowboys, which snapped a five-game losing streak.

Rodgers had his best statistical game of the season (146.7 passer rating), the starting five on the offensive line played all 64 snaps together and Christian Watson became the first Packers rookie in 44 years to catch three touchdown passes.

The challenge doesn't get any easier against a tough Titans defense that boasts the league's stingiest third-down defense (27.9%) and ranks eighth in scoring (18.7 points per game). Since starting the season 0-2, Mike Vrabel's squad has won six of its last seven, with the lone loss in overtime.

"They're a tough team, they've got some great players up front, stout guys in the middle," Rodgers said. "(Jeffery) Simmons is a baller, real good guys off the edge, solid inside at linebacker, the back end plays really well together. It's a toughness that Mike brings, and the expectations I'm sure for them are really high."

Sunday's win over Dallas was a step in the right direction for Green Bay's offense, though. In addition to scoring more than 30 points for the first time this season, the Packers improved to 3-0 when the offense registers more than 400 total yards.

Watson's breakout game and Allen Lazard's 36-yard catch-and-run in overtime played a hand in that, but Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon and the offensive line helped pace the offense with their 39 touches.

Running behind an O-line featuring the same starting five in back-to-back weeks for the first time this season, the two running backs propelled Green Bay to its third 200-yard rushing day of the year.

While Rodgers didn't want to venture too far down the hypothetical rabbit hole when asked about sustainability of Sunday's performance, the Packers quarterback agreed the backfield's production and cohesion of the O-line will play a role in a four-quarter performance.

"That's going to be an important part of our success moving forward if we can keep those guys healthy," Rodgers said. "We've protected well. We've communicated really well, and we gave just little gaps for those backs and man they had a big day."

The long weekend after the Titans game will be a welcome reprieve for Rodgers and the rest of the roster. The Packers have 16 players listed on their injury report this week, with Rodgers being one of six estimated as non-participants Monday. 

Before that, however, Rodgers must conquer his 14th Thursday appearance. Since 2011, the reigning NFL MVP has registered a 104.3 passer rating and 29 touchdowns on Thursdays. That's most the NFL among active QB in both categories, according to TruMedia.

This particular matchup comes with a twist due to the right thumb injury he's been dealing with for more than a month. Due to the bumps and bruises of the season, Rodgers said it's "about the same" as when he first injured it against the New York Giants on Oct. 9.

"I need probably a week off for it to get back to where I need it to be," said Rodgers, who'll continue to tape the thumb at least until the team's Week 14 bye. "Every game, there's been something that's hit it whether it's a snap under center or a hit from a defender. So, just gotta deal with it. I think combination of the weather and just a little different mindset, I was able to really put the ball where I wanted to."

Related Content