It's Dolphin Week which, if you're wondering, is a lot like Shark Week only instead of deadly sea creatures, we're talking about a dysfunctional football franchise that recently has specialized in negative PR. But despite some poor choices poor choices, things aren't all bad for the Phins. They're 2-2 including a win against the probably-not-washed-up New England Patriots in Week 1. Plus, the Ryan Tannehill to Mike Wallace connection has been impressive, producing 3 touchdowns in their first four games. Oh, and they can run the ball too which should make things interesting as the Packers have yet to show any real interest in stopping opposing backs. Will Philbin's fins flounder, or fight for their third win? Let's take a look at 5 things to watch this week:
Packers against a well-rounded team
You have to go back to Week 3 versus the Lions to find the last time the Packers faced a team that had demonstrated balance in all phases of the game. And while the Dolphins don't possess quite the firepower of Stafford or Calvin Johnson, they do bring a solid mix of running, passing and defense. Considering the Packers are on the road and playing in a climate similar to the surface of the sun (at least compared to what they're used to), they'll no doubt have their work cut out for them.
An aggressive Packers pass defense
When Ryan Tannehill wasn't busy getting sacked into smithereens last year, he was actually pretty effective. Except, that is, in one area - deep passes. It's still early in the year to say if he's totally got things figured out, but I'll be interested to see how much respect the defense gives him considering how inaccurate he was last year. If I were to guess, I'd say their coverage will be a bit tighter.
Hamstrings exploding left and right
The whole heat factor has probably been overblown by now, but the Packers have two players notorious for soft tissue injuries: Clay Matthews and Casey Hayward. Hayward especially hasn't been the same since his rookie year and if he has any hope of returning to form, he'll need to stay healthy. For both him and Matthews, they'll need to stay well-hydrated if they plan on leaving Miami in anything other than a full body ice pack.
Time of possession
I'm no offensive coordinator (or any coordinator for that matter) but if I'm in charge of the Dolphins game plan, I'm having it go a little something like this: RUN THE BALL EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. The Packers still haven't proved they can stop the run (or that they even care about it all that much) and with the heat likely to come into play, hanging onto the ball could be a way to wear down the defense as the game goes on.
If it seems like I say this a lot, it's because the Packers offense seems to live and die by it. Against the Bears, the offense was in face-melting mode. But after the initial slap in the face that the Packers gave the Vikings last week, the offense completely stalled out in the second quarter. This week, they likely won't have the luxury of putting things on cruise control 5 minutes into the game. To avoid that, they'll need to keep the offense going using the kind of tempo they like and picking up first downs on a consistent basis.