Packers Must Avoid the Trap Game

As this regular season has showed the NFL is a week to week league. Perspectives on teams in the media change week to week, although they really shouldn’t.  For example, even at 1-2 the Green Bay Packers were tied for 7th in Vegas’ power rankings while ESPN.com had them 17th. Vegas was much more accurate as it usually is.

Since the NFL is a week to week league you have to look at the spots teams are in when trying to predict games. Even though there were some people who thought the Minnesota Vikings had a chance last week I never saw it since it was a great spot for the Packers. Home teams are great on Thursdays, the Packers would be focused against a division rival and the Vikings just had too much uncertainty at the quarterback position on a short week. Aaron Rodgers has historically owned the Vikings, and the game had blowout written all over it.

However, the Packers are in a bad spot against Miami in Week 6. The game does not mean a whole lot to them against a non conference team they know nothing about, so their focus level might not be where it needs to be.

Meanwhile, Miami is fresh coming off a bye, and this would be a huge statement win for them to beat one of the premier teams in the NFL. It would certainly mean a lot for Joe Philbin to beat his old bosses, especially with his job on the line this year. Philbin should know the Packers’ schemes very well, which could be a huge problem since Mike McCarthy is not exactly known for doing a lot of different things on offense.

The weather could also be a big factor in Miami’s advantage. Playing in Miami this time of year is like playing in Green Bay in December. It’s a huge advantage for the home team. The high temperature for Sunday in Miami is 85 degrees.

If the Packers continue to only possess the ball a little under 26 minutes like they have averaged this season that will be a huge problem in Miami. The defense will likely not be able to hold up in the second half in that heat if they have to play so many snaps. It will especially be an issue across the defensive line where they were already thin before Datone Jones’ injury.

It already happened this year to a good team like the Packers in Miami this season. In Week 1, the New England Patriots were outscored 23-0 in the second half in their 33-20 loss to the Dolphins.

The Dolphins have some pretty good talent. Knowshown Moreno has returned to practice and will look to pick up where he left of before getting injured. The Dolphins are fifth in the NFL with 142.3 rushing yards per game. Their offensive line has been solidified with the additions of Brandon Albert, former Packer Daryn Colledge and rookie first-round pick Ja’Wuan James. Ryan Tannehill is certainly not Rodgers, but his athleticism can give Green Bay issues.

Defensively, the Dolphins have the type of defensive line that can get pressure on Rodgers. Cameron Wake remains one of the best pass rushers in the NFL and Randy Starks and Jared Odrick are stout at defensive tackle. However, if Rodgers has time he should be able to take advantage of a weak linebacker and secondary crew.

This is not to say the Packers cannot win this game. They’re still the better team by a decent amount and have the best player in the sport. However, in the week to week sport of the NFL the better team clearly does not always win each week. There’s just a lot of things working against the Packers in this matchup. The biggest one is probably a coach who would love nothing more than to stick it to his former team.

This is when McCarthy earns his money. He has to have his team ready to play and not resting on their laurels during a mini bye week after a huge blowout win. McCarthy has done a good job in the past in beating the teams he’s supposed to beat and avoiding letdowns. That will be put to the test in a major way on Sunday.

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Matt Bove is a writer at PackersTalk.com. PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on twitter at @RayRobert9.

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