So much for the Packers resting their starters for the last two weeks of the season. The Green Bay Packers kept their starters in and their foot on the gas Sunday, demolishing the Tennessee Titans 55-7 in an exhibition that not only gave them an 11-4 record but also vaulted them into second place in the NFC playoff standings, as San Francisco’s loss in Seattle knocked them down to third in the league. This means that the Packers have a chance to claim the second first round bye of the playoffs if they win again next week in Minnesota. Aaron Rodgers was the star of this game, responsible for 4 of the Packers’ 7 offensive touchdowns on the day.
This game was essentially over by the end of the first quarter. Though neither team could muster much in the first 6 or 7 minutes, Aaron Rodgers busted through the middle with 7 minutes left in the first quarter by running in a 6 yard touchdown to get the ball rolling for Green Bay. Shortly after, Rodgers hit Randall Cobb for a 20 yard touchdown to make it 14-0. The Titans could not get any offense going, as Chris Johnson was held to 28 yards on 11 carries, and Jake Locker was held to 140 yards and two interceptions. In the second quarter, the Packers added two field goals and it was 20-0 at halftime. In the second half, the rout was on. DuJuan Harris scored a touchdown followed by a Rodgers touchdown to Greg Jennings, and at the end of the third quarter it was 34-0, and the game was well out of hand. Ryan Grant added two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and Rodgers hit James Jones for another touchdown, and the score was 55-0 before the Titans finally got on the scoreboard at the end of the fourth quarter. The Titans only crossed midfield three times in the game, as the Packers defense stymied the Titans all game. Locker found Kenny Britt for a two yard touchdown with 1:40 left in the fourth, putting the final touch on a massive blowout that propels the Packers to the second seed in the NFC playoffs and a first round bye. The Titans are left to lick their wounds, in a poor effort that the Titans were surely hoping to avoid after their big win against the Jets on Monday night.
The victory was a huge one for Green Bay, who now sits in control of its first round bye opportunity. As a result of San Francisco getting crushed in Seattle, the Packers now have a half game lead on them, as the 49ers are 10-4-1 and the Packers are 11-4. This means that if the Packers win next week in Minnesota, they will get the bye no matter what happens in the 49ers game. Any chance of the Packers resting their starters now goes out the window, as a win would mean they could use the bye week to rest and automatically be one step further in the playoffs. Green Bay is still banged up in many aspects of their team, and an extra week off to get themselves ready and healthy could be huge for their hopes of a sustained playoff run.