Titans vs. Packers: Tennessee Gets Final Chance to Measure Up Against NFL Elite

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistDecember 21, 2012

Jake Locker can throw on the run, but he lacks Aaron Rodgers' overall skill set.
Jake Locker can throw on the run, but he lacks Aaron Rodgers' overall skill set.Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The point of sports is to compete; to measure yourself against another to see who is better. The Tennessee Titans have one final chance to gauge their own progress against a member of the upper echelon of the NFL.

They head to Lambeau field to play the 10-4 Green Bay Packers, one of the favorites to emerge from the NFC to play in the Super Bowl.

The Titans have played seven games this season against teams currently with winning records.

They are 0-7.

The Packers are who the Titans would like to become, and they'll get the chance to see just how far away they are from attaining Green Bay's level.

The Titans have a mobile quarterback from the Pac-10, and their leading push-rusher is a linebacker. Unfortunately, just like there's a big difference between Clay Matthews and Akeem Ayers, the similarities between the Titans and Packers end there.

The Packers have a massive talent gap over Tennessee, built by better drafting over the second half of the last decade. Homegrown stars like Matthews and Rodgers have been helped by recent second-round picks Randall Cobb and Casey Hayward.

Green Bay has greatly improved its secondary play after last year's suspect unit collapsed in the playoffs. The Packers have built a top-10 pass defense to go with a top-three passing offense.

Forget run the ball and stop the run. The Packers are all about controlling the air game. Even though they play in cold weather, they know the best way to ensure victory is to dominate the skies.

The result is a team on its way to another division title and fully primed for a big postseason run.

The matchup is instructive for a Titans team lacking in identity and talent at key positions. The Tennessee roster is not nearly as elegantly constructed as that of the Packers.

The defense has amassed pass-rushing linebackers in a 4-3 base. The offense is paying big money to a running back, and there are no game-breaking receivers for an inaccurate big-play quarterback to utilize.

The result has been a somewhat talented roster that has been incapable of success against the league's stronger teams.

Titans fans will have a hard time watching if their team goes out and gets beat by three touchdowns, but they should resist flipping stations. Rest assured, Bud Adams, Mike Reinfeldt and Ruston Webster will be watching.

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