Packers XLV

Can Pack Deal With Miami's Four-Letter Word?

Posted October 10th, 2014 @ 03:10pm

When it comes down to it, the Dolphins are an average football team, capable of looking good one week and lousy the next. They have 8-8 written all over them. They have their share of playmakers: Cameron Wake, Knowshon Moreno, Randy Starks, Mike Wallace. But the four letter word the Packers will be muttering all afternoon is this one: h-e-a-t.

The Pack's ability to handle the steamy weather will go the farthest in determining whether the winning streak reaches three. The forecast is for 90 degrees at kickoff, with 70% humidity. While many Packer players no doubt grew up in warm climates, they haven't played a game at this level in these kind of conditions very often--and certainly not recently. They've been practicing in perfect football weather: 48-50 degrees. They're in for a rude and sticky awakening.

Some of the Florida stats have a Halloween flavor: Aaron Rodgers is 0-3 in the state, with two losses in Tampa and one in Jacksonville. He's managed just five touchdowns to seven interceptions in those games. And when it comes to Miami, it gets even scarier. The Pack is 1-6 all time there.

So the intangibles don't sound great, but the one Miami win came in 2006 with Mike McCarthy at the helm. He's never lost there. So there's that.

Both teams enter the game well-rested--the Fish are coming off their bye (some would say two byes, since they got to play the Raiders in London) and get five starters back for this one, including Starks, LB Koa Misi, center Mike Pouncey (their best lineman) and safety Reshard Jones. They may also get Moreno back, he practiced in a limited fashion, while coming back from an elbow injury.

Offensively, the Dolphins would like to think they found their groove in their blowout of the Raiders. But in the two games prior, they scored just ten in Buffalo in a 19-point loss and then just 15 at home in another 19-point loss to the Chiefs. Head coach Joe Philbin raised some eyebrows following the defeat to Kansas City by not naming his starting QB till late in the week. Whether that woke up or annoyed Ryan Tannehill we'll never know, since, you know, he got to play the Raiders.

The Dolphins know the Pack's defense is susceptible to the run and solid against the Pack. Since the opener, opposing QBs average about a 60 QB rating and they're taking the ball away. Both of their backs are nicked: Moreno may or may not play and Lamar Miller showed up on the injury report midweek with a foot injury, so that might help slow them a bit. Both have averaged 5 1/2 yards per carry this season, so the Pack better be buttoned up. They've been a much better tackling team since the debacle in Seattle. They'll be tested on Sunday.

Mike Wallace is their big play receiver, but he's also been banged up. After him, tight end Charles Clay should demand the Pack's attention--he's also been slowed by injury (we think we always have it bad. The Fish listed 23 players on the injury report during Raiders week).

If the Pack can slow them down on first and second downs, Dom Capers will blitz often in passing situations and that should cause Tannehill to make some mistakes. They turned the ball over three times in their last game. The Pack is tied for the league lead at +6 right now, registering eight takeaways in the last three games. That always translates to wins.

Defensively, the Dolphins' strength is up front where Wake and Starks lead a disruptive unit that will be a handful for the Pack's offensive line. David Bakhtiari's back tightened up this week, so that's something to watch. If Rodgers has time, he'll pick apart the Fish, if he's pressured all day, it will be a struggle. Their linebacker unit is average, led by second year guy Jelani Jenkins and their secondary is just okay. Cortland Finnegan is iffy with a neck injury. If he's out, watch for Rodgers to pick on corners Will Davis and Jamar Taylor. Former Lion Louis Delmas starts at safety and is an upgrade of what they had last year.

The Pack gets the edge on special teams. Miami is last in the league, allowing nearly 15 yards per punt return and their punter is shaky. Mason Crosby has been exceptional all season.

For me, the game comes down to whether the Pack can contain the run and maintain a mostly clean pocket for Rodgers. And mostly, can the Packers keep their cool in the hot glare of the Miami midday sun?

I think so. But just barely.

Pack 28  Dolphins 26

 

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Comments (11):

Cane...you need remedial reading lessons. It's entirely possible to be ranked #6, yet considering the overriding factors of facing an inconsistent AFC team on the road, in stifling heat, presents its own unique set of challenges. Here's one for you...I would not be surprised if the Packers lost this one, just because they generally do poorly against AFC teams on the road. Not to mention how you truly amaze all of us week in and week out...

on October 10th, 2014 at 01:32pm

Get back on the short bus, Bill. I was addressing THC. You speak when spoken to, boy........

on October 10th, 2014 at 02:11pm

Ah, Cain, as you well know, you are fair game when you post your amusing comments--from me or any other faithful reader. Pack's favored by three. That feels right, but weather, bye week and everything else factors in.

on October 10th, 2014 at 03:03pm

ROFLMAO!

on October 10th, 2014 at 03:59pm

So you have the Packers ranked as the 6th best team in football, but have them narrowly eeking out a victory against a poor Miami squad? THC--you truly amaze me week in and week out......

on October 10th, 2014 at 10:55am

Infrequent competitors with a unique familiarity to one another. The Packers and Dolphins have met only 13 times in the 44 years since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 and Miami has won ten. Most of the earlier games came in the Don Shula age at Miami; when they had great Super Bowl teams in the '70's and the Marino quarterbacked clubs in the '80's & '90's. Still, as recently as the Packers' Super Bowl winning year in 2010 Miami came north and stole a 23-20 overtime decision at Lambeau. Dolphins hc Joe Philbin spent 9 years on the Packers staff, the last 5 as offensive coordinator so he knows the Green Bay offense and especially Aaron Rodgers well enough. But Mike McCarthy and the Pack also know Philbin's methods and approach to a game as well. I agree Miami is a .500 team that should hover just either side of 8 wins this season and that's been their pattern so far early. An impressive opening day win over New England and a one-sided show in London over the Raiders sandwhiched around 19 point losses to Buffalo and Kansas City. This could be a critical year for Philbin's future with the team if they don't win and make the playoffs. The heat and humidity will definitely be issues of concern. When Miami slugged New England in the season opener the Patriots wilted in these conditions in the second half. It will behoove the Packers to get out front early and substantially. A close, seesaw game or playing from behind will definitely favor the southern team in hot, humid weather late. Expect a game more like the Jets than the Bears or Vikings games. But being the better team the Packers should win. And for one week we should all be fans of the Vikings to take down the Lions. By Sunday suppertime the Packers will be in sole possession of first place in the division.

on October 11th, 2014 at 06:34am

You'd think a guy who writes a professional blog could tell the difference between Cane and Cain. But then again, anything he writes that isn't related to ranking the hotness of his cousins should be considered a win, so maybe we should cut him some slack

on October 11th, 2014 at 09:48am

Another interesting Sunday slate of games-and another week of interesting and humorous blog entries. Go Pack

on October 12th, 2014 at 08:05am

Go pound sand, Gary. Nobody likes you either......

on October 12th, 2014 at 09:50am

this game will come down to the OL line every game this year. Miami has a great D line and wake is tough. If 12 stays up and has time We win. if not we lose. pretty simple game. It's ok to give up 120 yds a game on the ground, just don't give up big chunk gains 20 yds, or more. I am with u again HC, I have us losing 27-23. Been right every game so far, Prove me wrong Boys. Go Pack.

on October 12th, 2014 at 10:48am

just to Clarify, I know Davey u didn't pick pack to lose, I just agree that it's going to be tough game ,when I said I agree with you. have to make that clear. Come on Ol play well.

on October 12th, 2014 at 11:04am

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