Free NFL Picks: Miami at Green Bay 10-17-2010

October 16, 2010

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Miami Dolphins at Green Bay Packers

Saturday October 17th, 2010 1:00 PM EST

Line: Green Bay -3 1/2

Overview

The 2-2 Miami Dolphins still struggle to find an identity. They beat the Vikings and the Bills, but neither of those wins show they can compete with the best teams in the league. The 3-2 Green Bay Packers appeared to be poised for a serious Super Bowl run, but their path has some serious obstacles in it.

Keys to the Game:

  • The Packers have an injury list that looks like a who’s who in the franchise. Aaron Rodgers will probably play hurt. Jermichael Finley is out, probably for the season. Ryan Grant and Nick Barnett are out for the season. Clay Matthews is doubtful with a hamstring injury. Every one of these injuries is a major setback for the Packers. They have done everything they can to mask the holes the injuries are causing, but the Packers are dropping like flies. It seems as though they have been bitten by an injury bug that might have cost them a championship.
  • Brandon Marshall has to get the ball, a lot. The Dolphins are targeting him often, but Marshall needs to look like he did against the Jets in order to push the Dolphins offense over the top. Marshall is a guy that can grab twenty catches in a single game. The Dolphins don’t look completely comfortable with Marshall yet. It seems like they are forcing him the ball. Continuity is going to be a work in progress. They are still getting used to the idea of having a super star at wide out.
  • The Packers are going to miss Clay Matthews the most. That is, assuming Aaron Rodgers is playing. Matthews has been a one man wrecking crew all year long. He lives in the backfield and has posted a sack in every game but one. Matthews would create pressure on Chad Henne. Without him, the Packers will need to find a new way to make Henne uncomfortable. The worst thing that can happen is Henne sitting back and having all day to throw. That could mean a big day for Marshall, which is the last thing the Packers want.
  • The Dolphins don’t generally allow a lot of passing yards. 181.5 passing yards allowed per game puts them at 4th in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers is a fantastic quarterback, so will probably put up well over 180 yards, but the Miami defensive backs are playing well. The two teams match up well. With Ryan Grant out, John Kuhn has become the feature back. He has filled in adequately, but he doesn’t give the Packers the same pop that Grant did. If the Dolphins force the Packers to go to the run, Kuhn is going to have to take advantage of the porous Dolphins defense. If Kuhn becomes the focal point of the Packers offense, the Dolphins succeeded.

Overview:

Everybody wants to know what the Dolphins are about. They are one of the hardest teams to feel comfortable betting on, but are equally difficult to bet against. Inquiring minds also want to know if the Packers have the depth in their roster to pick up the slack with the big time names sitting on the bench. I think the Dolphins will be able to take advantage. The Packers look less impressive every single week. Yes, it’s because of the injuries, but until the core of their team returns they won’t be beating teams that have the offensive flair that the Dolphins have. Dolphins win outright.

Free NFL Pick: Miami +3 1/2


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