GREEN BAY—The Sun Life Stadium stands will likely be full of Packers fans on Sunday, and that’ll help cancel the home field advantage the Dolphins will enjoy.
Hot and humid weather will favor the home team in a game that qualifies as a crossroads of sorts for both teams. A winning record through six weeks of the season is at stake.
The last time the Packers played in Miami was on Oct. 22, 2006. It was Mike McCarthy’s first season as Packers head coach. Nick Saban was the Dolphins’ coach, and he would bolt Miami for Alabama by season’s end.
Brett Favre pitched a 34-24 win on an 86-degree day, so, we know it can be done. The Packers will be confronted by similar temperatures this Sunday.
More important than the weather, the Dolphins bring some rather impressive league rankings into this game. Joe Philbin’s team is 15th in total offense (fifth in rushing), and No. 7 overall on defense.
Here are the Dolphins’ most intriguing stats: No. 1 on defense in yards allowed per play and net yards passing per play. Those are rankings that would suggest the Dolphins match up well against a Packers team that’s beginning to make big plays on offense.
Here are 10 things the Packers have to do to beat the Dolphins.
1. Get the lead – When you have the lead, you can dictate the pace of the game.
2. Achieve balance – It’ll keep the Dolphins from teeing off on the passer.
3. Stop the run – It begins with this on defense, especially in this game. Lamar Miller is averaging 5.7 yards per carry and his complement, Knowshon Moreno, is averaging 5.5.
4. Improve time of possession – The Packers are 30th in the league in time of possession. Something better than that is needed on a hot and humid day.
5. Disguise coverage – Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews are doing a good job of it, and it’s a good formula against a young quarterback.
6. Deny the big play – Mike Wallace is the Dolphins’ big-play receiver. He has beep-beep speed.
7. Avoid penalties – The Dolphins make you drive the ball, and penalties are drive killers.
8. Win passer rating – The Packers are back to the formula that won for them in 2010.
9. Be cool – Do whatever it takes to get out of the sun and have something left in the tank for the fourth quarter.
10. Rush the passer – Ryan Tannehill can be vulnerable to it and the Packers’ pass rush is beginning to shift into a higher gear.
ADDITIONAL COVERAGE - OCT. 9