Green Bay Packers vs Miami Dolphins (12/25 @ 1:00 PM EST)
Spread: Dolphins -5
Money Line: Packers +170 / Dolphins -195
Betting and Overview
The Green Bay Packers (6-8) head to Miami for a Christmas Day matchup with the Dolphins (8-6). Miami leads the overall series 10-5. But the Packers have won three of the last four (last game was in 2018). The matchup has enormous playoff ramifications as both teams fight for a wild card spot. Miami currently owns the last spot in the AFC, while the Packers need to win out for a shot to make the postseason.
The Packers are 6-8 against the spread and have covered three of their seven road games. They’ve gone over the total in seven of their 14 games.
The Dolphins are 7-7 versus the spread and have covered four of their six home games. They have gone over the total in seven of their fourteen games but have gone over in three of their last five.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers’ offense is averaging 360.5 yards and 20.5 points per game. They are led by Aaron Rodgers, who has 3,093 yards and 23 touchdowns. He’s been playing just well enough to keep the Packers in games, with 551 yards, four touchdowns, and three interceptions over his last three games. He’s gotten a boost in the second half from the emergence of rookie receiver Christian Watson. After a disastrous start to the year, the rookie caught fire and now has 359 yards and seven touchdowns over his last five games. He joins Allen Lazard (627 yards, 5 TD) and fellow rookie Romeo Doubs (369 yards, 3 TD) to form a vastly improved receiver group. We’ll be watching Doubs on Sunday, as he missed a month due to injury but returned last week with 5 catches for 55 yards. While Watson was the higher pick, Doubs emerged as one of the top receivers before his injury. He’s now back as the Packers’ third receiver and should find more success.
Aaron Jones leads the Packers’ backfield with 937 yards, two touchdowns, and another 364 yards and five touchdowns through the air. Jones has been pivotal in this struggling offense, making big plays when the Packers have needed him. He’s struggled to find running room the last month, but he broke out for 90 yards on 5.3 yards per carry last week. He joins AJ Dillon (660 yards, 5 TDs), one of the league’s strongest running backs. Expect both to get plenty of touches Sunday, regardless of the score.
The Packers’ defense is allowing 345.8 yards and 22.4 points per game. While their pass defense is second in the NFL, they rank 29th against the run. The issues with the run defense are plain to see, but the secondary isn’t what the numbers may indicate. While they generate turnovers, they have been torched by receivers similar to what Miami brings to town. They will rely on Preston Smith (7.5 sacks, 9 TFL), Kingsley Enagbare (3 sacks), and Kenny Clark (3 sacks) to get pressure on Tua and force him to make bad passes. They’ll also be critical in stopping a Miami run game that exploded against Buffalo last week. In the secondary, Jaire Alexander (4 INT) and Rasul Douglas (3 INT) have been getting turnovers but have been susceptible to big plays all season.
The Dolphins’ offense is averaging 385.3 yards and 24.6 points per game. They have been led by a breakout performance from Tua Tagovailoa, who has thrown for 3,238 yards and 24 touchdowns. As good as the young quarterback has looked, he struggled on the team’s recent three-game road trip. Tua completed just 49% of his passes during that span, though he has a play of over 60 yards in each. A big reason for his success is one of the league’s elite receiving corps, led by Tyreek Hill (1,529 yards, 7 TD) and Jaylen Waddle (1,117 yards, 7 TD). Hill is the second-leading receiver in the NFL but has gone over the 100-yard mark just once in their last 5 games. Waddle has been hampered by injuries in the second half of the season, but he is coming off a game where he went for 114 yards and a touchdown.
The Miami backfield is led by Raheem Mostert, who has 746 yards and three touchdowns. While the numbers aren’t overly impressive, he made a statement last week by going for 136 yards and averaging 8 yards per carry. There were questions about the Dolphins’ run game being able to step up in the cold weather, but Mostert answered them with his performance. Miami may also get Jeff Wilson Jr (706 yards, 4 TD) back, who has looked great since being traded to Miami earlier this year.
The Dolphins’ defense is allowing 374.9 yards and 24.6 points per game. They are bottom ten in the NFL in turnovers, but the unit has played well enough to keep them in games. Miami is stacked with pass rushers, including Jaelen Phillips (7 sacks), Melvin Ingram (6 sacks), and Bradley Chubb (2.5 sacks in 6 games with Miami). Keep an eye on Jerome Baker, too, as he leads the team in tackles (89) to go with four sacks and six tackles for loss. The Dolphins’ secondary has been led by Jevon Holland, who has a team-high two interceptions.