Predictions: Packers vs. Dolphins

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Henne will look to bounce back against the Packers.

Steffen: Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson may not know it, but Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins may be the most important game of their careers. Surely they’d tell you that it’s just another game on the schedule and they may even believe that, but make no mistake about it — how they respond after a week of bad news will dictate how the Packers perform for the rest of the season.

This week will set the tone. Is this the scrappy and talented team destined for Super Bowl glory, or just another preseason paper champion?

The team is reeling after a humiliating victory against the Lions (apparently there is such a thing), mounting criticism, a crushing overtime loss to the Redskins and more injuries than I’ve ever seen a Packers squad suffer in one season. And we’re not even half way through, so it could get worse. Let’s just say that morale is low.

This is a team that needs a win and they need it now.

NFL champions are defined by how they deal with adversity. Every team experiences injuries and it’s up to the GM to maintain depth and the coach to maintain morale and focus. I don’t have a lot of confidence in Thompson and McCarthy to do any of these things. I feel like they are able to field a talented team, but as soon as things don’t go according to plan, they ignore the problems and stubbornly stay the course.

They don’t hit the panic button, they hit the snooze button.

How else to explain our current halfback tandem of Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn? And focus is hardly a hallmark of Mike McCarthy’s tenure as head coach. Just ask any number of the Packers’ oft flagged offensive linemen and they’ll tell you just how unimportant focus and discipline are for this team.

McCarthy needs to recognize that his team is at a crossroads. His hands-off approach is no longer an option. Thompson also must realize that after five years, this team is no longer a long-term project. This team simply must win now and that means he needs to address the injuries with more than practice squad players. There is absolutely no urgency with either of these guys and I have to think this is demoralizing for the players.

If the Green Bay Packers still fancy themselves as Super Bowl contenders, it’s time for them to step up and prove it. They limp into this Dolphins game with a lot of questions on the defensive side of the ball, an offensive line on the brink of collapse and no running game. Still.

Amidst all of this is a growing, out of left field hate fest being heaped upon quarterback Aaron Rodgers. ESPN radio’s Colin Cowherd, who may be the absolute worst sports radio host in the country, is leading the charge. As part of a misguided and confusing rant against fantasy football, Cowherd has been slamming Rodgers for his lack of so called “signature wins.” While I’d argue that every one of Rodger’s victories is a signature win when you consider the scrutiny he endures every week, here is an opportunity for Rodgers to bounce back from his concussion and shut up idiots like Cowherd.

For Green Bay to win this week, McCarthy and his staff simply must make dramatic adjustments. Even without tight end Jermichael Finley, the Packers still have one of the best receiving corps in the game. The offense must run through Rodgers, Greg Jennings and Donald Driver.

On defense, Dom Capers will have to get tricky… I mean, I really don’t know what they are going to do. Last week, we saw how anemic the defense became when Clay Matthews went out. Basically, if you have any of the Dolphins on your fantasy squad, you should be starting them. While the Packers will devote a lot of time trying shut down idiot wide receiver Brandon Marshall, I am more concerned about Davone Bess, who is quietly having a breakout season.

Rodgers will bounce back with a big game – but so will Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne. If injured defensive ends Ryan Pickett and Mike Neal sit out, the Dolphins potent run game will get itself established early on. The Packers will be unable to generate a pass rush without Matthews in the lineup and Henne will have lots of time to throw.

Again, and I say this every week, the difference will be penalties and special teams. The Packers still have enough talent to win this game and they may very well jump out to a lead at some point, but special teams breakdowns and penalties will kill them in the end.

Dolphins 24, Packers 17

Sarah: The good news for the Green Bay Packers is quarterback Aaron Rodgers is recovered from the concussion he suffered last week and is expected to play against the Dolphins.

The bad news is…well, the bad news is just about everything else. Tight end Jermichael Finley, poised to have a breakout year as one of Green Bay’s most potent offensive weapons, is now lost for at least eight weeks and the Packers’ remaining injuries are best viewed with an Excel spreadsheet. It’s overwhelming.

Enter the Dolphins who, at 2-2, aren’t exactly Super Bowl material, but are much healthier going into this weekend.

Head coach Tony Sparano also now has a new special teams coach and thinks quarterback Chad Henne will be much better than he was in Week four versus the Patriots, when he threw three picks.

The Packers have been killing themselves with penalties and costly turnovers even before the injury bug hit, and the combination of the two isn’t going to go well this week.

Although they’re at home, expect the Packers to struggle to overcome this latest rash of injuries.

Dolphins 21, Packers 17

Monty: Although I can’t stand either of the numb skulls running the Green Bay Packers, Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy don’t play the game.

Men play the game — men like Aaron Rodgers and Charles Woodson.

The Packers’ offensive and defensive heart and soul step up when their team needs them and their team needs them now. Sunday’s game against Miami could go a long way towards determining the course of this season. The Packers are battling more adversity than they have in the McCarthy era, but I fully expect Rodgers and Woodson to not only rally their team, but play lights out.

Don’t expect a work of art. The Packers special teams have been especially hard hit because of injuries, so there will be some breakdowns in that facet of the game.

However, in the end, big-time players come to play when it matters most.

Rodgers and Woodson are big-time players and they will be the difference.

Packers 31, Dolphins 24


About The Author

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

18 Comments on "Predictions: Packers vs. Dolphins"

  1. This is a tough game to call… My heart says packers 21 dolphins 17 but my mind sadly says packers 14 dolphins 28 the it’s one I’ll be excited to watch.

  2. JCO

    The good teams respond well to adversity and fight through injuries. This week we find out if the packers are contenders or pretenders.

  3. chitter

    Two weeks of prep versus our depleted bench and under-coached team equals a loss. Fuck Ted and Mike and I don’t doubt the players are thinking the exact same thing.

    Dolphins 27 Packers 20

  4. PackerBaker

    “Thompson also must realize that after five years, this team is no longer a long-term project. This team simply must win now and that means he needs to address the injuries with more than practice squad players. There is absolutely no urgency with either of these guys and I have to think this is demoralizing for the players.”

    Very well written. That could not have been said any better.

  5. matt fox

    This is the most injuries you’ve ever seen in a Packers season Steffen? Are you four years old? Do you not remember five years ago when literally half of our team was out and we were starting our fifth string WR and had to take Samkon Gado out of Med school? That was literally this decade. How short are Packer fans’ memories? No wonder you guys dont like Favre anymore, you cant even remember 2006, let alone 1997.

    And the fact that you consider Rodgers winning regular season games(none of which led to an NFC North championship) as “signature wins” perfectly sums up the new mediocre Packers. Rodgers 3 biggest games, the two against Favre and the NFC North winning Vikings and his first playoff game, were all losses. He’s hasn’t won a big game yet. He’s kind of a choker.

    • Party of Five’s Matt Fox is back ladies and gentlemen.

      Where do I begin with this one?

      First, literally half? Like of the 53 man roster, we had 26.5 players on IR in 2005? Literally? Man, yeah, I must not have been born yet too because I sure as shit don’t remember that.

      And was Favre mentioned in this post? What does any of this have to do with Brett Favre?

      Yes, in 05 the Packers suffered many injuries. But this season is worse. I’d say that the only essential starters lost were Ahman Green and Javon Walker. Green was a bonafied pro-bowler and Walker was a rising star. All of the other injuries? Davenport? Ferguson?

      How does it even compare?

      This year: starting strong safety (Burnett), star running back (Grant) , super star tight end (Finley), star middle linebacker (Barnett) are all gone for the season along with a couple backups like Martin.

      Chillar who is our primary coverage linebacker is out for extended time, Matthews who is a bonafied superstar is out this week, Pickett is out for who knows how long.

      Donald Lee or primary backup TE is out for a while.

      Shall I go on? Don’t mind if I do.

      We began the season with Al Harris and Atari Bigby still recovring on the PUP list. Rodgers was concussed and was close to sitting out this week.

      Rookie Mike Neal who looks like he was about to come into his own is out again after missing the first few games.

      Our starting right tackle Mark Tauscher is out. Who am I missing?

      But you’re right, because Tony Fischer also got hurt in 05. That made that season far, far worse.

      What an idiot Steffen is.

      Oh, and, yes, yes Matt. We know. None of these injuries would have happened if we kept the ol’ Gunslinger happy. This must be karma for treating Lord Brett with so much disrespect.

    • jeremy

      Packers have injures to blame for their 3-2 start. The Vikings just have Brett Favre to blame for their 1-3 start.

  6. MAD City Packer Fan

    Aren’t the Vikings choking right now Matt? Yes they are and washed up Moss will not be able to help that implosion already in progress.

  7. matt fox

    Hey, its Karma for just being a douchebag GM in general. And you’re right, the injuries in 05 just seemed so much more significant because Thompson let all of the Packers starters go and failed to replace any of them. Darren Sharper retired, right?

    The injuries suck, its true, but every team has them, and the Packers failed to capitalize on more injury free seasons before. If they don’t win this year, Thompson and McCarthy need to go.

    Btw, did you guys enjoy finding out this offseason that Sean Peyton cried after not getting the Head Coaching job for the Packers in 06? He only took a terrible Saints team to a Superbowl title. Giving it to the offensive coordinator of a 3-13 49ers team who’s never had a head coaching job before was a great idea. Thompson is the man!

  8. matt fox

    W00t! It seems a washed up Moss was in fact able to help that implosion in progress and you guys are the ones who are now choking. Haha, this is fantastic. Now the Vikings are only half a game behind the Packers. See you bitches next week. ;)

  9. Flyboy7588

    If an NFL team is not deep at key positions, injuries will be devastating. That is where the Packers find themselves. To lose to the Fish at Lambeau is simply unforgiveable no matter the injury situation.

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