As far as clinching a playoff berth goes, the Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans have nothing to play for in Week 16.
Green Bay solidified their spot atop the NFC North last week. Tennessee’s win on Monday Night Football knocked the New York Jets out of the playoff race, but the Titans 5-9 record won’t allow them to play past Week 17.
Still, the Packers have something on the line in their Week 16 matchup with the Titans. Green Bay is looking to get the No.2 seed in the conference and a first-round bye.
The past two seasons might indicate that the Packers would fare better without a bye.
Last year, Green Bay cruised into the postseason with a 15-1 record. In their first playoff game, they lost to the Giants at Lambeau Field by 17 points. In 2010, the Packers won three road games en route to a Super Bowl victory.
However, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy says the team wants to avoid playing in the wild card round.
"We want the bye week, make no bones about it," said McCarthy. "It's important to have a healthy football team, and if you have an opportunity to achieve the bye week, that's what we're working for.”
The Titans will look to play the role of spoiler. They ruined the Jets playoff hopes in Week 15, and could guarantee that the Packers will be forced to play in the first round of the postseason. A Packers loss and a 49ers win would give San Francisco the No.2 seed. The Atlanta Falcons have all but locked up the top seed in the NFC.
With the betting line set at 12.5 points, the Packers are one of the biggest favorites of the week. Only the Patriots are favored by more.
It’s a matchup of, maybe, the NFL’s best quarterback versus a signal caller who’s looking to develop into one of the league’s best. Aaron Rodgers leads all quarterbacks with a 104.7 passer rating. Jake Locker has had trouble staying healthy in his second season. He’s struggled since getting back on the field, throwing three touchdowns and seven interceptions in his last four games.
Chris Johnson may have to put up big numbers to give Tennessee a chance. His 94-yard touchdown run was a key in the Titans win last week.
Sunday’s contest between the two teams will air on CBS at 1 p.m. ET. You can watch a live stream online by purchasing NFL Sunday Ticket Max.
Prediction: The Packers have been the better team all season, and are playing about as well as any team in the league. Their Week 12 loss to the Giants is their only defeat since Oct.7. Green Bay has much more to play for, and should win handily against a team that gives up 28 points per game.
Predicted Score: Green Bay 38, Tennessee 30