Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week 6: Packers vs. Dolphins Preview & Prediction

The Green Bay Packers travel to balmy Miami to take on the Dolphins about an hour from now. The weather forecast is hot and muggy, just the kind of weather that can wear down defensive players in particular if they are on the field too long. Throw in the possibility of thunderstorms and this could be a game where the conditions perhaps more than the talent determines the outcome of the game.

Favored by anywhere from 2-1/2 to 3 points depending upon who you are looking at for your spread, the 3-2 Packers will find themselves challenged by the 2-2 Fins. Perhaps to the surprise of many Packer fans, Miami actually leads the head-to-head series, 10-3.

Coached by former Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, the Dolphins run a spread offense with Ryan Tannehill as the quarterback. He's fast and can scramble, which is exactly the type of quarterback that seems to give the Packers defense all sorts of problems (e.g., Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick). If the Packers defense can keep Tannehill in the pocket and force him to pass, however, they have opportunities to generate turnovers; he's not so great with his decision-making or downfield accuracy. The Packers defensive line will be tested with a pretty solid running attack; Lamar Miller is expected to split carries with Knowshon Moreno throughout the game.

But the defensive line is perhaps the best asset the Fins have going for them. If the Packers offensive line doesn't maintain the aggressive attitude they put on display early and often against the ViQueens, it could be another tough rushing day for Eddie Lacy, who will split carries more often today, it is expected, with James Starks.

QB Aaron Rodgers
Photo by Mike Dinovo, USA TODAY Sports

It could also be a day where QB Aaron Rodgers -- who plays in his 100th career regular-season game -- sees pressure like he did earlier this season. But we expect that Rodgers, his linemen, tight ends and wide receivers will present enough challenges to the Fins defense that his 100th career regular-season game will also get the Pack their fourth win of the 2014 NFL season.

The Prediction
Assuming the Packers can weather the weather (see what I did there?), the better quarterback should lead his team to victory. In the match up between Rodgers and Tannehill, "Who ya got?". I'll take Rodgers.

I'm calling this one Packers 27 - Dolphins 20.

Go Pack Go!!!