When the schedule came out in the spring this upcoming game stood out to me. Not in a “Oh man we have to go play the Dolphins on the road” kinda way, in a “hmm, I wonder when that game is because I hear Miami is nice” kinda way. Alas, both of the institutions that provided me with post-secondary education have their homecoming festivities this weekend so a trip to South Beach does not appear to be in the cards. This season’s road game trip has been relocated to TCF Bank stadium in Minneapolis. Yay.
The Dolphins appear to be a very boring story as all anyone can seem to talk about is the weather (it’s going to be like 85 degrees, everyone’s going to be fine) and the fact that their coach used to coach in Green Bay. This has to be a welcome change from last season in which ESPN basically camped outside of the facility for the balance of the season. This year might be make or break for Joe Philbin.
With all of that said I believe we’re in yet another situation where the Packers are the more talented team and are going to have to play poorly to lose. I’m certainly not saying that the Packers won’t or can’t lose (3-10 all time against MIA) but in a game in which both teams are coming off of more than a week off it might boil down to Aaron Rodgers vs. Ryan Tannehill and I know what direction I am going in that case.
Why the Packers Will Win– Aaron Rodgers and the pass defense. The Packers pass defense is actually pretty spectacular. 7th in the league from a yardage perspective and T3 in the NFL with only 5 opponent TD passes allowed this season. Their 12 team sacks place them inside the top 10 in that category as well. You hear a lot of doubters talk about the fact that the team still allowed 4.4 YPC to the Vikings but if you’re winning and the other team can’t throw running the ball doesn’t really matter. Go ahead, tell me that not stopping the run is going to come back and bite the Packers, but is it really going to bite the Packers against Lamar Miller and that offensive line?
The Dolphins appear to be very good defensively, but they haven’t played against an offense as good as Green Bay’s. The Dolphins are so-so in the secondary, and while the strength of their team is the pass rush, the strength of the Packers offensive line has actually been their protection. According to Pro Football Focus the Packers have the 7th best pass blocking offensive line. The offense’s ability to score points early will be key to getting the Dolphins out of their run game in a hurry.
Why the Dolphins Will Win- There’s a couple different reasons to be concerned about this game. First of all, Green Bay is only a 3 point favorite in this game. There’s nothing that says this is going to be a blowout in the Packers’ favor. The Dolphins are also coming off of a bye. Joe Philbin has a familiarity with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense as a whole. There is a pretty significant climate change between Green Bay and Miami this time of year.
More than anything the big reason that Green Bay might lose this game is that Miami is very good up front. It’s entirely possible that the Dolphins could stop the run game and get pressure with 4. The Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks both showed that the way to beat the Packers is to rush successfully with 4 and drop 7. If Miami can stay in a cover 2 shell and control the line of scrimmage with 6 or 7 defenders the Packers are going to struggle. If the game stays close long term and the Dolphins are able to run Lamar Miller and half of a Knowshon Moreno the run defense could eventually wear down.
Fantasy Packer to Start- Davante Adams- I said as much in this week’s From The Benches. It’s Adams’ job now. He was targeted deep once (fell down) and undressed Josh Robinson on his way to his first NFL touchdown. Davante Adams is a special player and I think the Packers are going to throw the ball in this game. The weather will be conducive to it and I don’t believe it’s going to be a blowout that neutralizes the passing game like the Minnesota game was.
Fantasy Packer to Sit- none- I feel that you can use Rodgers, Adams, Lacy, Cobb and Nelson.
Bottom Line- Despite everything that I said in the “Why the Dolphins Will Win” segment, I think the team is still looking for it’s first complete game and I think it comes here. The offense did not play well against Minnesota. Anyone who watched the game will tell you that and QB1 will be the first one to say it. The defense is playing just fine, especially as it pertains to actually giving up points. It might not always look pretty but at the end of the day the Packers are one of only 4 teams to be top 10 in the league in both scoring offense and scoring defense. Finally the Packers offense gets going early, the pass rush turns it on and the running game closes it down. Packers 34 Dolphins 20