This next stretch of five games is going to be absolutely critical to the outcome of the Green Bay Packers’ 2014 season. They will play five difficult opponents, starting Sunday when they are on the road in Miami for a Week 6 NFL showdown, followed by games against Carolina, New Orleans, Chicago and Philadelphia.
Of those, three of the games are at home. Next week against Carolina will be at Lambeau and later down the road Green Bay will host Chicago and the Eagles in back-to-back weeks, sandwiched between a difficult trip to the Super Dome to take on the Saints.
Sitting at 3-2 is not a bad way to start the season but there is a huge difference between 3-3 and 4-2. If The Packers can beat the Dolphins they will be at 4-2 heading into their home game against the Panthers and much better positioned for a playoff run.
Throughout Aaron Rodgers career he has been very difficult to beat at home and in his six plus seasons at the starting quarterback for the Packers, he has amassed a 39-10 record. Yet, on the road he is just 25-25 and winning on the road against New Orleans is very difficult, so if the Packers were going to win one of the two road games in this five game stretch, the easier by far would be this week in Miami.
Not only would getting to 4-2 assure the Packers of remaining in first place in the NFC North, it would send them into a four-game stretch, where each team is a legitimate playoff contender two games over .500 and with a little room for error.
Say the Packers beat Miami and lose to New Orleans, then they have three home games against Carolina, Chicago and Philly. Those are all winnable games but say Green Bay loses one of them, that plus the loss to the Saints would still put them at 6-4, with the easiest part of their schedule remaining and four of their last six games at the friendly confines of Lambeau Field.
If they Beat Miami and sweep those home games, which is possible under Rodgers, the Packers would be 7-3. However, a loss to Miami, followed by another road loss to New Orleans, would mean Green Bay would need to win all three home games to stay above the .500, because winning two of the three against the Panthers, Bears and Eagles, would leave Green Bay just 5-5 heading into the stretch run.
Yes, it is early but with the difficult four-game stretch that lies ahead for the Packers after facing against Miami this weekend and it’s clear that the contest in South Beach is a critical game. A win would put Green Bay on pace to make the postseason, while a loss would force the Packers to make up ground against what might possibly be the toughest stretch of the season.
I am not saying Sunday is a must-win game for the Packers in Miami, it’s too early for that. But, great teams take care of business and if the Packers are going to be a great team this season, a win over the Dolphins on Sunday is a must.