Next Game’s Revealing Stat: Titans’ Rushing Yardage
The Tennessee Titans don’t have a fearsome reputation and they don’t have a winning record on the year (4-5). They do, however, have one formidable strength: a mighty running attack. The Titans are averaging 144.2 rushing yards per game, behind only Dallas and Buffalo.
The Green Bay Packers have the second best defensive numbers against the rush, yielding just 75.8 yards on the ground per game. However, the only other strong rushing team Green Bay has faced was the Cowboys. On October 16, Ezekiel Elliott ran over and around Green Bay defenders to the tune of 157 yards.
The Titans confront opponents with a three-pronged running attack.
DeMarco Murray (6-1, 220) is averaging 89.7 yards per game, second in the league to Elliott. He’s in his sixth year in the NFL, the first four with Dallas, then a year with Philadelphia, and now with Tennessee. He had a phenomenal year with the Cowboys in 2014, rushing for 1,845 yards – which led the league by almost 500 yards.
Derrick Henry bears some similarities to the Packers’ Eddie Lacy. He’s a rookie out of Alabama and he weighs 247 pounds, but Henry, at 6’2”, is a good three inches taller than Lacy. On the year, he’s gained 221 yards and is averaging 4.2 yards per carry.
The third rusher the Packers need to watch is quarterback Marcus Mariota. He’s rushed for 235 yards on 35 carries, a 6.7 yard average. By comparison, Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers has rushed for 199 yards on 34 carries, a 5.9 average. Among quarterbacks, the two rank second and fifth in the league as runners.
Injuries have hobbled the Titans’ rushing attack to some extent, although everyone is expected to play in this contest. Neither Murray nor Henry practiced on Wednesday. Murray was rested due to a sore toe, whereas Henry was bothered by a strained calf muscle. We don’t expect those injuries to play a role on Sunday.
If the Packers’ defense gives up big yardage on the ground, like the 191 yards they surrendered to Dallas, a three-game losing streak will be the likely result.