Green Bay Packers (3-2 SU, 2-2-1 ATS) vs. Miami Dolphins (2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS)
NFL Week 6
Date and Time: Sunday, October 12, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. EST
Where: Sun Life Stadium
TV: FOX, DTV 707
by Vesper Abadon, Pro Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: GB -3 /Mia +3
Over/Under Total: 49.5
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Two weeks ago in London the Miami Dolphins put a shellacking on the Oakland Raiders, one that resulted in the firing of the latters head coach Dennis Allen after ten straight losses. It was a dominant performance by the Fins, who definitely needed it considering both head coach Joe Philbin and quarterback Ryan Tannehill were being questioned by fans, media, and each other. Now theyre coming back from their bye week and will host the Green Bay Packers at home.
In the aforementioned win, Tannehill went 23 of 31 for 278 yards and two touchdowns, which increased his season totals to 93 of 155 for 902 yards, six touchdowns, and three interceptions. That gives him an 81.2 rating, making him the 25th QB in the league. Not great, but certainly could be worse. Whats more, Tannehill has only been sacked nine times. Thats more than twice a game, but still leaps and bounds better than last season when his offensive line couldnt hold back a charging poodle.
The Dolphins average 212 passing yards per game (YPG), which gives them the 23rd-ranked aerial attack in the league. Tannehills top receiver? That would be Mike Wallace, who has caught 20 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns. Little by little the QB and his wide receiver are developing that chemistry, and that could prove explosive as the season wears on.
Going back to that offensive line, theyve been doing an excellent job paving the way for running back Lamar Miller, who has stepped up big time for the injured Knowshon Moreno. Miller has carried 49 times for 277 yards (5.7 Avg) and two touchdowns, which has helped give the Dolphins the 5th-best rushing game in the league with an average of 142.2 YPG.
Defensively, the Dolphins are ranked 7th in the league holding opponents to an average of 322.2 total YPG (215 passing YPG; 107.2 rushing YPG). Compare that to their opponents this week, the Green Bay Packers, who allow an average of 371.8 YPG (208.8 passing YPG; 163 rushing YPG) and are ranked a lowly 22nd in the NFL.
Whats surprising is the Packers, who blew out the Minnesota Vikings in Week 5 to improve to 3-2, are ranked 28th in the league averaging 309.2 YPG and 26.8 points per game (PPG). That means only four teams are worse than them. Arent the Packers supposed to have a high-powered offense? Indeed they are, but the numbers suggest otherwise.
The Packers are ranked 18th in passing averaging 219.6 YPG. Aaron Rodgers was in a slump, but he seemed to get out of it against the Vikings when he went 12 of 17 for 156 yards and three touchdowns. Despite the lackluster passing rank, Rodgers is currently the second-best passer in the league with a 114.8 rating after going 98 of 147 for 1,155 yards, 12 touchdowns, and only one interception.
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Of course his favorite target, Jordy Nelson, has been consistent catching 34 passes for 525 yards and four touchdowns, while Randall Cobb is having a heck of a year with 24 receptions for 273 yards and six touchdowns.
The Packers have struggled to get things going on the ground, and that is reflected in their 25th ranking. Theyre averaging just 89.6 YPG as second-year running back Eddie Lacy, who has carried 66 times for 266 yards and three touchdowns, got off to a slow start. Those numbers dont look too bad, but keep in mind 105 of those yards and two touchdowns came last week against the Vikings.
Miami is playing at home, so the weather could play a factor. Normally the home team would force the visitors to wear their dark-colored uniforms so as to soak up the sun, but that will likely be a nonfactor as the forecast calls for clouds and rain.
Vespers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This is an interesting matchup in that, on paper, the Dolphins should walk away with the win, but the Packers are the favorites.
The Packers have momentum heading into the match, but the Dolphins are well rested and have had more time to prepare for their opponent. Plus, Philbin served as the Packers offensive coordinator from 2007-11, so that should give him some insight, right?
“I think you bring up an interesting point about Green Bay on paper. I said this to the football team, I think, on paper, if you look at yards, total offense, total defense. Today, they’re not a great football team, Philbin said in his weekly press conference. If you look at points scored and points given up, I think they’re fifth in football and I think they’re 28th if you just added up the yards. Again, we all would agree that sometimes you can take statistics and move them around in a lot of different directions. I told the team that this is a very efficient football team. They are a team that doesn’t beat themselves.
Philbin is right. The stats for this game dont matter. It will be a dogfight, but I think the Packers will walk away the victor by covering the spread. Theyre the more consistent team and they seem to have their groove back.