Packers vs. Dolphins: Saturday Scoop

Joe Philbin

The Green Bay Packers get back at it tomorrow in Miami against the Dolphins.  The weather is expected to be 84 degrees and a decent chance of rain.  While rainy conditions can wreak havoc on a heavy passing offense such as Green Bay’s, cloud cover in Miami may be a blessing.  It at least keeps it a bit cooler for a Packers team that doesn’t play in hot and humid conditions often.  Along with the heat always comes a chance for more cramping by players so any relief from extreme sunshine is welcome by the guys in green and gold.  And the Packers will be wearing their green jerseys this week.

A little rain didn’t seem to bother the Packers last week at Lambeau Field as they easily dispatched the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night.  It gave Green Bay a mini-bye week and a 10-day layoff.  The Dolphins are coming off of their bye week so both teams will be well-rested.

The Packers will be without receiver Jarrett Boykin, as he has been ruled out.  Davante Adams will see extended work for a fourth straight week.  Only defensive lineman Datone Jones and linebacker Sam Barrington are listed as questionable.  Jones is still nursing an ankle injury suffered against the Vikings.  He spent most of last season, his rookie season, dealing with an ankle injury.  It’s not expected to be a long-term issue although neither Jones nor the team have given a decent indication of his chances to suit up.  Josh Boyd and Luther Robinson would see increased time if Jones misses this one.  Barrington has a hamstring issue and depending on the weather conditions, may sit this one out as a precaution.

Miami will likely be without starting receiver Brandon Gibson, who is listed as doubtful.  Jarvis Landry would replace Gibson in the starting lineup.  Cornerback Cortland Finnegan is also listed as doubtful and would be replaced by Will Davis.  Finnegan was one of the league’s top cornerbacks a few seasons ago and spent the last few years in St. Louis with head coach Jeff Fisher, who was head coach in Tennessee when Finnegan was with the Titans.

These NFC/AFC match ups always give me an uneasy feeling from the standpoint of having a good idea of what to expect.  This game has a little added wrinkle, however.  While these teams are unfamiliar with each other (they have only faced each other 13 times), the head coaches are not.  Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin was Green Bay’s offensive coordinator under Mike McCarthy just three seasons ago when the Packers went 15-1 in the regular season.  It marks the first time a former McCarthy assistant will face the Packers as the opposing head coach.  Although Philbin was a vital part of the weekly game planning in Green Bay, McCarthy called the offense on game day.  With both coaches familiar with each other’s offensive style, it will be up to the defenses to keep them out of the end zone.

Miami’s defense ranks seventh overall, based on yards surrendered per game.  Green Bay’s ranks 22nd, based on the same metric.  In terms of rushing defense, the Dolphins are giving up just over 100 yards per game while Green Bay has struggled mightily in that area and are giving up a whopping 163 yards per contest.  Both teams are close to even in pass defense, although the Packers have seven interceptions on the season while the Dolphins have just three.

The porous run defense has been the narrative on the 2014 Packers so far and the Dolphins come in with the league’s fifth-ranked rushing offense, averaging 142 yards and 28 attempts per game.  If Miami has early success running the ball and if the heat becomes a factor, the Packers have their work cut out for them.  The Dolphins running attack is lead by running backs Lamar Miller and Knowshon Moreno.  Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy had his first 100-yard game against the Vikings but will find the goings a lot more difficult against a stouter Miami front.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has yet to beat the Dolphins as a starter, with his only game against them coming in 2010 at Lambeau Field where Miami forced overtime and escaped with the win.  The Packers went on to win the Super Bowl that season and I mention that just in case Miami gets the better of Green Bay this time around as well.  A little something to hang onto.  A silver lining, if you will.

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill makes his first appearance against the Packers.  Tannehill has to hope the run game can carry the load and that he’s not forced to throw it all day.  That scenario would bode well for a Packers defense that has not only created turnovers, but has had more success rushing the passer.  Linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers both have big interceptions created by pressure and deflected passes.  Tannehill can run, although I doubt we’ll see any pistol formations this week.  Or will we?  If Miami has watched Green Bay’s struggles against the scheme, it might be worth at least a try.  The Packers have fared well in coverage this season, but Tannehill’s mobility means the defense has to be aware of allowing huge running lanes and an escape.  Green Bay has been subpar on third down and they have to find a way to get off the field this week.  Too many snaps in those weather conditions and they’ll be gassed by halftime.

This is a game the Packers should win.  It would be a big road win against a tough defense and another chance to show success against a worthy opposition.  They come in relatively healthy and hopefully that continues.  The key is getting an early lead and having the ability run the ball.  in Short passing situations and easy first-down conversions would help Green Bay win the time of possession and keep the defense rested.  Green Bay has beaten the Dolphins just three times in the history of this rivalry, the most recent of which was in 2006.  They’ll look for their fourth in 24 short hours.


Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on

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4 thoughts on “Packers vs. Dolphins: Saturday Scoop

  1. If I’m MIA I’m running the ball till GB proves it can stop the run. And if it takes 9 guys to stop the run, then hit us with the pass and back and forth until MM’s lays another giant egg.

  2. Really ive read so much about the dolphins first of all they beat the worst team in the nfl raiders then a new england team that jus found themselves last week it could be a trap game but we should beat this team with relative ease tannehill really

  3. Agree with Jason that this is a game that the Packers should win. And it is important that the Packers win this game. I am not saying that it is a must win, but the Packers need to come out and get this game as the next 4 games are against better quality teams with legit playoff chances. The next 4 games after Miami include Carolina at home, N.O. on the road, Bye week, then the Bears and Eagles at home. The Packers can win the 3 home games but N.O. on the road is a tough assignment. Beat Miami, take the 3 home games and we can be 7-3 after 10 games. This puts us in a good position for the playoffs and winning the division. Even with a loss to the fish and the Saints we can be 6-4 after 10 games but 7-3 would be preferred with games remaining against the Pats, Bills and Lions over the last 6. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

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