The Miami Dolphins will face a big test on Sunday when they welcome the Green Bay Packers to Sun Life Stadium. Miami is coming off of their best game of the young season, a convincing win over the Oakland Raiders that was played in London, England. Overcoming the travel obstacles and in-house distractions created by Joe Philbin’s refusal to endorse Ryan Tannehill as his starting quarterback was huge for the Dolphins, but now they’re going to face their toughest opponent so far this season.
Green Bay comes into this game averaging 40.0 points in their last two games. Their quarterback, Pro Bowler Aaron Rodgers, seems to have found his stride and is back to being one of the best offensive leaders in the NFL. Miami is going to have its hands full trying to contain the Packers offense, but the same could be said for Green Bay’s defense in dealing with Tannehill and his unit. Here are the biggest things to watch out for during Sunday’s game:READ MORE: Homegoing Celebration, Funeral Service Set For Congresswoman Carrie Meek
Miami’s ground game
One of the biggest surprises this year has been the production that Miami has gotten from their running game. The Dolphins are 5th in the NFL in rushing, averaging an impressive 142.2 yards per game. That comes despite losing Knowshon Moreno, who led the NFL in rushing after Week 1, to an elbow injury in the 1st quarter of their Week 2 game at Buffalo. Lamar Miller has done an excellent job picking up where Moreno left off, averaging 5.7 yards per carry, just ahead of Knowshon’s average of 5.5.
Moreno has been a limited participant in practice all week and could be a game-time decision for Miami. With or without him, the Dolphins should still be able to move the ball on the ground against Green Bay’s porous run defense. The Packers rank dead last in the league, giving up 163.0 rushing yards per game. If Miami can use their ground game to control the clock and limit Green Bay’s offensive opportunities, that could go a long way towards the Dolphins securing a victory on Sunday.
Reshad Jones’ first game back
The Dolphins are going to welcome several players back to their lineup on Sunday that the team has been without for most or all of the season. Starting safety Reshad Jones is one of them, having been suspended for the first four games of the season after violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs. Jones has been working hard during his time away from the team, spending several hours a day with a trainer to keep himself in shape. He’ll be thrown right into the fire in his first game back, having to deal with Aaron Rodgers and the potent Packers offense.READ MORE: CBS4 Investigates: Hollywood Condo Building May Not Have Power Restored For Weeks
Which Ryan Tannehill will show up?
So far this season we’ve seen a few different sides of quarterback Ryan Tannehill as he’s continued getting acclimated to the Dolphins new offensive scheme. Timing and accuracy are key elements to the success of the offense and at times, Tannehill has struggled with both. That being said, during the Dolphins win over the Raiders Tannehill looked like a quarterback that had been running this offense for years, leading his team up and down the field and looking very good while doing so. With two weeks of preparation and practice time leading up to Sunday’s game, hopefully he can continue looking like the franchise quarterback that the Dolphins have been looking for since Dan Marino retired in 1999.
Mike Pouncey is back
Miami’s Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey is finally going to play his first game of the season after being sidelined with a hip injury that he sustained during the teams organized team activities (OTAs) in June. Originally thought to be out for at least the first two months of the season, Pouncey has been practicing for a few weeks and is poised to make his return on Sunday against the Packers. There has been some talk of Pouncey being moved to guard, his natural position that he played for most of his life, and keeping Samson Satele at center. Satele has done well as Pouncey’s replacement but Miami has had some issues at the right guard position, so it made sense to move one of them over a few feet to the right. No matter where Pouncey plays, he’ll instantly upgrade the Dolphins offensive line that has already been much improved from a season ago.
Pressure on Aaron Rodgers
The Packers biggest threat on offense is their amazing quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. He’s been carrying the team of late, leading Green Bay to consecutive wins in which they’ve scored 38 and 42 points. The teams rushing attack hasn’t been that good though, averaging just 89.6 yards per game, good for 25th in the league. For the Dolphins defense to have success against Rodgers, they’re going to have to put some pressure on him. Getting a big game from guys like Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon would seriously help Miami’s chances of winning. If the Dolphins defensive front is able to limit Rodgers’ time to throw and now allow Green Bay’s receivers time to get open down the field, that could go a long way towards keeping the Packers off the scoreboard.MORE NEWS: Art Basel Is Back! Premier Art Fair Returns With More Than 250 Galleries From 36 Countries
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