Packers hoping to maintain postseason hopes vs Dolphins
GREEN BAY (6-8) at MIAMI (8-6)
Sunday, 1 p.m. EST, FOX
FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK NFL LINE: Dolphins by 4 1/2
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Packers 6-8; Dolphins 6-7-1.
SERIES RECORD: Dolphins lead 10-5.
LAST MEETING: Packers defeated Dolphins 31-12 in 2018 at Lambeau Field.
LAST WEEK: Packers beat the Rams 24-12; Dolphins lost to Buffalo 32-29.
PACKERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (15), RUSH (13), PASS (16), SCORING (20t)
PACKERS DEFENSE: OVERALL (15), RUSH (29), PASS (2), SCORING (15t)
DOLPHINS OFFENSE: OVERALL (5), RUSH (27), PASS (3), SCORING (9)
DOLPHINS DEFENSE: OVERALL (23), RUSH (10), PASS (27), SCORING (26t)
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Packers minus-3; Dolphins minus-2.
PACKERS PLAYER TO WATCH: OLB Preston Smith. His recent surge has helped boost a pass rush that had struggled since Rashan Gary suffered a season-ending knee injury in early November. Smith had two sacks in a Monday night victory over the Los Angeles Rams and has four sacks over his past four games, improving his season total to 7½.
DOLPHINS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Jaylen Waddle is averaging 18 yards per reception this season, the best in the NFL. He caught three passes for 113 yards against Buffalo, including a 67-yard TD, the longest of his career.
KEY MATCHUP: QB Tua Tagovailoa vs Packers secondary. Tagovailoa has already surpassed his career total in yards passing with 3,238 yards, 24 TDs and just five interceptions. The Packers have one of the best passing defenses in the league, highlighted by cornerback Jaire Alexander’s four interceptions. Only the Eagles have allowed fewer passing yards than Green Bay.
KEY INJURIES: Packers OT David Bakhtiari has missed Green Bay’s past two games as he recovers from an appendectomy. … Dolphins RB Jeff Wilson (hip) and S Eric Rowe (hamstring) missed Miami’s game last week and were limited in practice Wednesday.
SERIES NOTES: The Packers trail the series 10-5, but have won four of the past five meetings. … Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and Aaron Jones ran for two touchdowns when the Packers beat the Dolphins in 2018. Brock Osweiler started at quarterback for Miami and Frank Gore rushed for 90 yards on 13 carries.
STATS AND STUFF: This is the second straight season the Packers are playing on Christmas Day. They beat the Cleveland Browns 24-22 at Lambeau Field last Christmas. … This marks just the second time Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has faced the Dolphins in Miami. The previous time came in a 27-24 Packers victory in 2014. … The Packers have won 14 consecutive December games. The only team ever to have a longer December winning streak was the San Diego Chargers with 18 straight December wins from 2006-09, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. … This marks the Packers’ last regular-season road game. They host the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions in their final two games. … Packers K Mason Crosby can set the franchise record for consecutive games played Sunday. Crosby has played 255 consecutive games to match Hall of Fame QB Brett Favre for the Packers’ longest streak. … Packers WR Aaron Jones has 5,100 yards rushing and moved into third place on the franchise’s list Monday night by passing John Brockington (5,024). The Packers’ top two rushers are Ahman Green (8,322) and Hall of Fame Jim Taylor (8,207). … Packers KR/DB Keisean Nixon has at least one kickoff return of 30-plus yards in each of his past four games. He’s the first Packer to do that since Sam Shields in 2010. Nixonn has three kickoff returns of 50-plus yards and eight of 30-plus yards this season to lead the NFL in both categories. … Packers coach Matt LaFleur and Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel were coaching colleagues with Houston (2008), Washington (2011-13) and Atlanta (2015-16). … CB Jaire Alexander was selected to the Pro Bowl and six other Packers were selected as alternates. … Miami WR Tyreek Will, LT Terron Armstead and CB Xavien Howard were selected to the Pro Bowl. Five other Dolphins, including QB Tua Tagovailoa, were selected as alternates. … Miami is 11-1 in its past 12 home games. The Dolphins last went 12-1 at home in the mid-1980s. … The Dolphins are 2-1 all time on Christmas Day, including a double-overtime win at Kansas City in the 1971 AFC divisional round. Miami beat Detroit at home on Christmas in 1994 and lost to the Jets at home on Christmas in 2006. … Miami has the NFL’s fifth-best overall offense, averaging 370.4 yards per game. … The Dolphins are 21st in the league in third down conversion percentage. … Tagovailoa leads the NFL in overall passer rating (107.8) and red zone passer rating (111.8). … WR Tyreek Hill has 10 receptions for 113 yards in two games against the Packers. Hill and Waddle are the NFL’s only pair of teammates with more than 1,000 yards receiving this season. Hill is second in the league with 1,529 yards. Waddle has 1,117. … Miami’s defense is allowing 246.3 passing yards per game, which is 27th in the NFL. … Miami had a 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver in the same game last week for the first time since 2018.
FANTASY TIP: Miami’s run game has been inconsistent this season, but against Buffalo, the Dolphins rushed for 188 yards behind a season-high 136 yards rushing by Raheem Mostert. If Jeff Wilson is unable to play in his second straight game, Mostert could have another huge outing as Miami’s lead back against Green Bay’s struggling run defense.
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