October 11, 2014

Arman Three Pack Preview: Miami Dolphins

Two big wins in a row, now the Green Bay Packers go on the road to play the Miami Dolphins. What's the one key to avoiding a let down to a team the Packers should probably beat?

Adam: The most important thing to prevent an unexpected loss would be simply to protect Aaron Rodgers. The only scenario where the Dolphins beat the Packers involves their pass rush ruining things for the Packers offense and forcing some turnovers. Throughout the Rodgers era we've seen his ability to torch opposing defenses provided he has reasonable pass protection. The line has played well of late, and if the Packers can start fast like the last two weeks that should open things up for the running game and put the Dolphins mediocre offense under the gun.
Aaron Rodgers Throwing the football

Shane: Third down conversions. The Packers have been well below average in this category. While it has gotten better the last two weeks, this team has too much firepower to be going 3-and-out as much as it is. Getting the running game going and a balanced attack is the key to keeping the defense off balance on third down. If the Packers can stay in 3-and-short all game, they'll be able to move the ball and score.

Mitch: In order to avoid a let down, we must continue to develop the run game and protect Rodgers. I'm not too worried about the Dolphins offense, so protecting Rodgers and the ball will be a key in winning against an opponent we should beat.


We're a little more than 25% done with the season, who is the Green Bay Packers MVP on the season?

Adam: No surprise on offense, it has to be Aaron Rodgers. Despite a few rocky performances he remains the leader of this football team that seems poised to continue improving as we get deeper into the season. On defense I would have to say Julius Peppers. Peppers has shown early that he still has plenty in the tank and has led by example on a defense needing more leadership. He's been exactly what Ted Thompson hoped for; a lethal pass rusher opposite Clay Matthews that the defense has to account for on every snap. He's made several impact plays and has been a main stay on a defense still feeling out some of its rotations.

Shane: Julius Peppers. The man is disrupting offenses, making plays and fueling the Packers improved pass rush. If he can keep this pace up and the run defense even improves marginally, Green Bay has a chance to make a deep playoff run.

Mitch: I think it has to be Jordy Nelson. He has the stats, big plays, and is a touchdown threat on every single play. He's gotta stay healthy for our offense to fire on all cylinders.

What is the Packers biggest flaw thus far this season? Could be a group of players, individual player or technique (tackling, ball catching, etc.).

Adam: Without question...RUN DEFENSE...All accounts had BJ Raji poised for a bounce back season in a contract year and his loss has left the middle of the Packers defensive line undersized. Luckily, the pass rush and secondary has performed extremely well and allowed the Packers to cheat into the box to support the run better lately, but this could prove to be the undoing of the green and gold in December and January trying to advance past the likes of the Seahawks and 49ers in the playoffs. The Packers are well below average compared to the NF'Ls elite in terms of personnel up the middle of their defense. DT, middle linebacker and safety are their worst position groups and it will be difficult for Dom Capers scheme to mask these deficiencies. However, if Clay stays healthy, Peppers continues to play at a pro bowl level and the safeties continue to grow and mesh together, flashes of the 2010 Super Bowl defense that forced turnovers and bent but didnt break could be seen.

Shane: Tight end play. The Packers have zero vertical threat in the middle of the field, nor do they have a safety valve for Aaron Rodgers on short down and distance. The coaching staff seems indecisive and extremely untrustworthy of the current TE group and it shows in the roles they've carved out for the position. Green Bay doesn't have any TE who has a significant advantage in any part of his game - no one with great hands, great speed, great blocking, etc. And that as hurt the Packers ability to move the ball, especially on third down.

Mitch: Middle linebacker position...specifically as it relates to containing RBs who can catch out of the backfield. This has killed us in the past on 3rd downs, and it continues to without a Peppers or Matthews-caliber player at MLB.

What would the Dolphins have to do to make this week's game uncomfortably competitive for Green Bay?

Adam: Rodgers has discussed this week playing his former offensive coordinator who has as much insider info on the Packers offense as anyone in the league. It would take a real disaster in game planing by McCarthy and a terrible offensive line performance leading to four plus sacks and multiple turnovers to lead the Dolphins to a victory here. I expect the Packers to keep it rolling and get the "W" in what could be a closer contest than people think. Fast start with the passing game will allow the Packers to get the ground game going late. Lacy tops 100 yards for the second straight week!

Shane: Force multiple turnovers from the Packers offense and run the ball down the Packers' throat. Green Bay's clear weakness is run defense, so I would expect the Dolphins to rely heavily on their backfield to move the ball. If Miami can score early and avoid letting the Packers get an early lead, this could be a very close game.

Mitch: Dolphins have to force a few turnovers and get to Rodgers. The only way I see the game being within 10 points is if Rodgers is under duress and we lose the turnover battle significantly.

Score Prediction:

Adam:

  • Packers   31
  • Dolphins 20


Shane:

  • Packers: 28
  • Dolphins: 21


Mitch:

  • Packers: 30
  • Dolphins: 17