MURGI/StReAmS....#[9990tk]@!!..- MAGANA LIVE ON NFL 27 Dec 2020
The Packers were routed by San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game last year. To the surprise of many, Green Bay has raced to an 11-3 start this year, already clinched the NFC North title and currently holds the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff race.
Tennessee went 9-7 in the regular season last year, but heated up in the postseason and reached the conference championship game. This season, the Titans (10-4) have already usurped last year’s win total and are tied for the AFC South lead.
The teams meet Sunday at Lambeau Field at 7:20 p.m. Green Bay is a 2.5-point favorite.
Here’s a look at each positional group and which team has the edge.
Tennessee’s Ryan Tannehill spent the first seven years of his career in Miami where things never worked out. The Dolphins reached the playoffs just once, Tannehill’s top passer rating was 93.5 and he was traded to the Titans before the 2019 season.
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After Tennessee started slowly a year ago, the Titans benched starter Marcus Mariota, turned to Tannehill and the offense erupted. Since Week 7, 2019, Tannehill has thrown 53 touchdown passes, 11 interceptions and has a quarterback rating of 113.3.
Tannehill led Tennessee to the AFC Championship Game last season. And Tennessee is off to a 10-4 start this year and tied for the AFC South lead.
Tannehill, the eighth pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, clearly needed a change of scenery to fulfill his vast potential.
“He’s comfortable in who he is,” Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel said. “I think he tries to be Ryan and operate our system and not worry about what other guys are doing or how other quarterbacks play. I think he’s playing how we would like him to play and how he wants to play — take care of the football, be decisive and get us into the right plays.”
Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers threw for a season-low 143 yards last week in a win over Carolina. He also averaged just 4.9 yards per pass attempt, his second-lowest mark of the year.
Rodgers has thrown 40 touchdowns, four interceptions and has a 118.0 passer rating this season, which has him in the thick of the MVP race. But he’ll have to be better than he was against the Panthers if the Packers are going to reach their first Super Bowl in a decade.
“I’m not a big believer in teams lightening up or losing focus,” Rodgers said of last week’s win. “It just comes down to execution and we didn’t execute starting the second half.”
Tennessee’s Derrick Henry is the best running back in football.
Period. End of sentence.
Henry won the NFL rushing title last year with 1,540 yards, ran for 16 touchdowns, and carried the Titans within one win of the Super Bowl.
Henry leads the league again this year with 1,679 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. And with a strong finish, he’ll become just the eighth running back in NFL history to eclipse 2,000 rushing yards.
Henry (6-3, 247) is bigger than most linebackers, yet has the speed (4.50) to run away from many defensive backs.
“For how big he is, it’s deceiving,” Packers outside linebackers coach Mike Smith said. “Like you see all these DBs that are flying to him or come up to get him and he outruns ‘em. So, you know, we’ve just got to swarm this guy, we’ve got to get everybody on him and we got to keep him in, contain him in and everybody’s got to be sound up front.”
Green Bay’s Aaron Jones had 139 rushing yards and a touchdown on just 18 carries against Carolina last week. Jones averaged 7.7 yards per rush and led a ground game that produced 190 rushing yards.
Dating back to last season, Jones has eclipsed 100 yards in five of his last seven December games.
“I’ll tell you, he’s special,” Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said of Jones. “It’s one of those things, you’re right when it comes to his size, you don’t think that he would have that power that he has, but it’s one of those things, his balance is unbelievable and his ability to have his foot in the ground and still be able to take impacts and bounce off people, it’s pretty incredible. He’s got this innate slashing ability to put his foot in the ground, get downhill and get positive yards.”
Tennessee’s Corey Davis, the fifth pick in the 2017 draft, is finally living up to lofty expectations. Davis leads the Titans in receptions (60) and yards (945), despite missing a pair of games.
A.J. Brown (6-1, 226) is big and strong and runs exceptionally well (4.49). Brown eclipsed 1,000 yards as a rookie last season and is on pace to do so again this year. Brown also has a team-high 10 receiving touchdowns.
Tight end Jonnu Smith (37 catches, seven touchdowns) is steady, but far from spectacular.
“When you watch ‘em on film, they’ve got big strong hands,” Packers cornerbacks coach Jerry Gray said of Tennessee’s wideouts. “They look, you know, really, really muscular on film, so I’m pretty sure they’re big in person. And then when they catch the ball, they actually can run after the catch and they’re not trying to shy away. So, they look like more running back style wide receivers, but they’ve got athletic ability of a wide receiver. So they’re not going to shy away.”
Green Bay’s Robert Tonyan has 10 touchdown catches, one behind the franchise record for tight ends set by Paul Coffman (11) in 1983. Amazingly, Tonyan has also caught 49 of the 55 passes thrown his way this season.
Many Packers were frustrated when Tonyan missed the Pro Bowl earlier last week.
“One, he got snubbed big-time. Not taking anything away from any of those other guys that got in, but you score 10 touchdowns, I don’t care if they know it’s coming to you or they don’t know,” Packers wide receiver Davante Adams said of Tonyan. “It’s hard to score one touchdown in this league, man. I’ve done it. I lived it and went through a season with one score before, and that thing was hard to come by. I’ll tell you. Being in a position where he comes in not even knowing where or how much he’ll be used, and then to shock the world and go out and catch 10 touchdowns like that, it says a lot about who he is.”
Green Bay’s Elgton Jenkins became the first Packers’ offensive lineman to start a game at guard, center and tackle in the same season since the 1970 merger. He excelled wherever the Packers put him and was chosen as a Pro Bowl starter in just his second season.
“Elgton’s been awesome, ever since he first got in here,” Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said of Jenkins. “I think the big thing is he’s a very intelligent player, and it’s not too big for him. So he’s going out there and he’s feeling great with just the entire team, the offensive line room, with all of us.
“He’s just going out there and he’s balling. It’s great to see. You can see from him playing guard to tackle to center. He’s a guy that just steps up to the challenge, loves the game and he’s intelligent. It’s one of those things, he can do so much, and I think that’s just allowed him to play at a high level. It’s great to see the recognition that he’s gotten.”
The Packers also activated center Corey Linsley from the injured reserve list on Saturday. Linsley missed the last three games with a knee injury.
If Linsley is good to go, Jenkins — who played center with Linsley sidelined — will move back to left guard.
Tennessee lost Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan for the rest of the season with a torn ACL in October. He was replaced by Ty Sambrailo, who was lost for the year in Week 11.
David Quessenberry, a second-year man who spent much of 2019 on the practice squad, has been thrust into duty. Quessenberry has held up OK, allowing three sacks in 309 snaps.
The rest of the line is experienced and talented and has helped Tennessee allow the seventh-fewest sacks in football (21).
Center Ben Jones is a terrific leader up front who hasn’t allowed a sack this season. Right tackle Dennis Kelly had to battle for his job this summer and has refused to give it up since.
Left guard Rodger Saffold is a force in the run game. Second-year right guard Nate Davis is a rising star who hasn’t allowed a sack himself.
“I think those guys get momentum moving guys off the ball, pushing forward, and I just have to go out there and get north and south and move the pile forward, fall forward and get yards so we can move down the field,” Tennessee running back Derrick Henry said.
Green Bay ranks 11th in rushing yards allowed per game (110.1), but just 20th in rushing yards per attempts (4.5). The Packers’ rushing defense has been a two-year problem, and they’ll get an enormous test against Tennessee’s Henry.
“I mean, it was a huge point of emphasis for obvious reasons in the offseason,” Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said of his run defense. “We spent a lot of time as a staff meeting virtually over it and then we spent a lot of time putting together film clips of what the technique is supposed to look like and then the different defenses, what they’re supposed to look like against certain runs, because the league kind of changes the style of runs sometimes change.
“Schematically you get some new things which has certainly popped up this year. I just think we made a commitment as a staff and obviously we feel better about it, than at times last year.”
Tennessee ranks dead last in the NFL with just 14 sacks this season, but 15th in rushing yards allowed per game (114.50).
End Jeffery Simmons, a first-round pick in 2019, has just 3.0 sacks, but has been solid overall. Mammoth Da’Quan Jones (6-4, 322) is Tennessee’s top run-stuffer. Veteran Jack Crawford has been disappointing on the other end.
Green Bay’s Za’Darius Smith was named a Pro Bowl starter for the first time in his career. Smith, a fourth-round draft choice in 2015, has 24.0 sacks since coming to Green Bay prior to the 2019 campaign.
“Z’s always worked hard and you know, the thing about that that’s interesting is you approached the next day, you wouldn’t have even thought he got voted to the Pro Bowl,” Packers outside linebackers coach Mike Smith said of Smith. “He knows what the big picture is and that’s the Super Bowl and getting there. But you know, obviously all these players, they do want to get credit for how hard they work and so I’m sure it meant a lot to him and somebody like him, how hard he works and the time he puts and the effort, it just shows that it pays off.”
Tennessee’s Rashaan Evans, a first-round pick in 2018, has star potential, but hasn’t achieved it yet. Fellow inside linebacker Jayon Brown was having a sold year, but suffered a season-ending elbow injury last month. David Long Jr., who replaced Brown, is undersized and more suited for special teams.
Strongside ‘backer Harold Landry leads Tennessee in sacks (4.5) and is sixth in tackles (57). Weakside ‘backer Derick Roberson is out with a hamstring injury.
Tennessee ranks 29th in passing yards allowed per game (276.0) and 18th in opposing quarterback passer rating (93.9).
Ex-Patriot Malcolm Butler, the hero of the 49th Super Bowl, has had a strong year at left corner. Right corner Adoree’ Jackson spent most of the year on injured reserve with a knee injury, but has top-end speed and terrific coverage skills. His return last week was a huge lift to this unit.
Strong safety Kenny Vaccaro is a hard hitter who sets the tone for the entire secondary. Free safety Kevin Byard has blossomed into one of the NFL’s better players at his position.
“They’re really good,” Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said of Tennessee’s secondary. “They’ve had a lot of good opportunities and they’ve taken advantage of them. We just have to control what we can control and that’s getting the ball to the guys, catching the ball and just executing.”
Green Bay’s Jaire Alexander was named a Pro Bowl starter this week. The last Packers’ corner chosen as a Pro Bowl starter was Charles Woodson in 2011.
“I think the biggest thing was just staying consistent,” Alexander said. “Obviously, I didn’t get as many targets, but just being on my coverage, even when I don’t get those targets, just helps allow me to be in position when I do (get targeted).
“I think just being consistent. Not taking any plays off and just bringing that energy. I had to find a way to become more involved into the game, through my energy and through my consistency, I was able to do that.”
Tennessee’s Stephen Gostkowski is having the worst season of his 15-year career. Gostkowski, a four-time Pro Bowler in New England, is just 18-of-26 on field goals (69.2%) and has missed two extra points.
Brett Kern is one of the top punters in football (46.1 gross, 41.8 net). Returner Kalif Raymond has been below average (18.3 kickoffs, 9.0 punts).
Green Bay’s special teams have been a disaster since midseason. The one bright spot has been kicker Mason Crosby, who has made all 16 of his field goals this season.
“Mason obviously has been around for so long, he’s been a part of so many big wins and he’s been a big part of some of those wins, thinking about some of the great kicks he’s made over the years, some of the momentum swingers that he’s been a part of, just his consistency,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said of Crosby. “He’s such a consistent guy.”
Matt LaFleur’s path to Green Bay took him through Tennessee in 2018, where he was the offensive coordinator. Things didn’t go well that year, as the Titans finished 27th in scoring offense and 25th in total offense with LaFleur calling plays.
Green Bay’s hierarchy saw enough in LaFleur, though, to take a chance and make him their coach in Jan., 2019. It’s paid off in spades, as the Packers are 24-6 since, reached the NFC Championship Game in 2019 and currently hold the NFC’s No. 1 seed.
“I think Matt’s got a confidence to him about what he believes in,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said of LaFleur. “I think he’s a hard worker. I think he’s got a toughness to him, having been in a lot of different places, worked his way up. Not afraid to move his family for another opportunity and then turn that opportunity into something else. Those are all really strong qualities. I do think he has learned from the people that he’s been around and he’s been around a lot of great coaches.”
Tennessee’s Mike Vrabel is 28-18 as a first-time head coach.
A standout linebacker with Pittsburgh and New England, Vrabel has yet to assemble a championship-level defense in Tennessee. The offense — led by coordinator Arthur Smith — has excelled.
“The one thing, Vrabes, he’s going to hold everybody accountable, whether you’re the best player or the last player on your roster – coaches, players, everybody,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said of Vrabel. “He was really direct in his communication, laid out the expectations – were crystal clear for everybody – you knew where you stood and what your responsibilities were and what the expectations were. I thought he did an outstanding job with that. It’s something I’ve tried to carry over, as well.”
Prediction: Titans 34, Packers 30
Season Record: 13-1
Record vs. the point spread: 10-3-1
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I have covered the Green Bay Packers for several media outlets since 2001, including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s “Packer Plus” and currently Conley Media. I have…
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Dec 18, 2020,06:27pm EST|3,667 views
The Surprising Success Of XaaS
Thomas LahBrand Contributor
ServiceNowBRANDVOICE| Paid Program
Research shows technology service providers are outperforming through the pandemic.
As we look back on an intensely challenging year for business leaders around the world, some intriguing trends have risen to the top.
We’ve seen global conditions lead to an acceleration in two distinct areas: XaaS (everything as a service) revenue streams and investments in digital transformation. With this in mind, technology providers should take the time to understand how these two trends could impact their business models.
Tree growing on a barren ridge.
The downturn has been an upside for SaaS companies. getty
From slowing to growing
The XaaS surge can be traced back to April of 2020.
In a Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) survey that month, more than 50% of the companies with business models based on selling products (transactional revenues) reported a drop of 10% or more in bookings. Only 23% of companies with business models based on selling recurring services had the same experience.
This is because new product transactions can quickly freeze in a global downturn, while recurring revenues from service contracts are more resilient.
Graph that says traditional revenue model companies are hosed.
In May 2020, TSIA ran a survey asking this question:
“Which of the following best describes the net change in the percentage of customers utilizing your technology subscription (XaaS) offers in the last 12 months?”
The response data shows that all the respondents reported XaaS offer usage was growing in the midst of a global pandemic.
XaaS is growing according to this image
The response data shows that all the respondents reported XaaS offer usage was growing in the midst of a global pandemic.
By the end of the second quarter, it was apparent XaaS revenues were significantly outperforming product revenues on a broad basis.
TSIA tracks an industry index composed of 50 technology companies called the Technology & Services 50 (T&S 50). On average, these software companies saw product revenues decline over 12% while service revenues (which include SaaS revenues) increased more than 10%. More impressively, companies in the TSIA Managed Services benchmark database reported an average growth rate of 32% for their managed services business—far outpacing the average growth rate for products.
Given the data, it’s no surprise that in Q3, both HP and Dell reported overall declining revenues but significant growth in recurring revenues driven by as-a-service offers.
The global downturn has clearly put wind in the sails of XaaS revenues. Why?
Three reasons for revenue growth
Meetings with 76 leadership teams from TSIA member companies provide some answers to the reasons behind the surge. We learned that:
In the current economic climate, customers want the ability to pay as they go for the technology they are consuming.
Customers want a technology consumption model that allows them to scale up AND down based on the business environment.
XaaS offers are better suited for supporting a remote workforce.
Simply put, XaaS is a naturally more flexible solution suited to the needs of an uncertain time.
The value of digital transformation
While no two digital transformation efforts are alike, companies are generally pursuing two key value vectors with their initiatives:
The migration of workloads from on premises to off premises
The use of analytics and AI to reengineer the customer and employee experience, including initiatives to create new offers and new go-to-market models
Digital transformation graphic
Business leaders were pursuing digital transformation before the pandemic. But when Covid-19 hit and employees were sent home, many faced the reality that their technology infrastructure was not up to the task at hand. This meant accelerating their investments in digital transformation for those in the position to do so.
If XaaS revenue growth is accelerating and digital transformation initiatives are on the rise, what initiatives should technology providers seriously consider to remain competitive when the global economy returns to growth?
TSIA would argue that every technology provider should be developing XaaS offers that:
Support consumption-based pricing models
Support the customer’s desire to migrate workloads away from datacenters they manage themselves
Help customers digitize and optimize their business processes
Additionally, technology service providers should restructure customer engagement models so they are:
Optimized to sell and service XaaS offers
Cost effective in expanding and renewing customers on XaaS platforms
Focused on ensuring customers realize business value from their technology investments
XaaS revenues were outpacing traditional product revenues before the global downturn. The downturn has simply accelerated and amplified that trend. Hopefully, your company is prepared to ride this wave of growing XaaS revenues.
- From our professional to personal routine, many gadgets are always required handy to keep up with all sorts of tasks.Educating is one of the few professions the