The Green Bay Packers have slim playoff hopes at the moment, but when you have Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, you are always alive until you are mathematically eliminated. BetOnline customers know there is no guarantee that Green Bay will be in the race much longer even if they beat Miami Dolphins on Christmas day, but they most certainly will be out of the ballgame if they lose.
These teams meet at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Sunday at 1 PM eastern time.
Green Bay was last seen in a Monday night game, taking care of business against the Los Angeles Rams. And there is some encouragement in the fact that the Packers are about as healthy at the wide receiver spot as we have been all season long, with rookie Christian Watson becoming a guy that Rodgers can look to for the big play. Watson has only 29 catches on the season, but seven of them have been for touchdowns.
The Dolphins are obviously known as a big-play squad, leading the NFL in explosive play percentage at 14.2%. Between Tyreek Hill and Jalen Waddle, they have combined for 2646 yards, and Tua Tagovailoa has made many of these big plays while throwing only five interceptions all season. Many people were very surprised that he was snubbed when the Pro Bowl rosters were named.
Miami has lost three games in a row, as they played at San Francisco, the LA Chargers, and Buffalo. They fought the Bills tooth and nail last week, losing in the waning moments. But they’ve lost only one game at home.
In the pro football betting odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetOnline, the Dolphins are the favorites:
Miami Dolphins -3.5
Green Bay Packers +3.5
Over 49.5 points -110
Under 49.5 points -110
Although both of these quarterbacks are fully capable, this game might come down to who can run the ball better, as predicted on many football betting sites. Miami has picked up the pace in that regard, and maybe that’s not surprising since their coach, Mike McDaniel, was the architect of an extremely effective ground game with the 49ers. Miami ran for 188 yards in Buffalo, with Raheem Mostert leading away with 136. McDaniel has put together a couple of his running backs from the San Francisco days, as Jeff Wilson has also joined the team.
Green Bay is a squad that has been vulnerable to the run, allowing five yards per carry. Actually, the kind of defense they play, which is designed to present explosive plays and might hinder Tua in that regard, leave them open to teams who can run the ball with some effectiveness because the safeties, which play deeper than usual, are not available for run support.
Meanwhile, the Packers have also rushed the ball at 4.8 yards a clip and should probably have been balancing the office a little better earlier in the season. Neither of these teams has been known to stop the opposition with much regularity. Each of them has allowed about 5.6 yards per play on the part of the opposition. Yet, because we see a high possibility on the part of each squad to take to the ground, we are looking in the direction of an “under” as far as the total is concerned.
Our principal play here, though, is Green Bay, not just because they’re so desperate to stay in the race but because Miami is still fighting for a playoff spot themselves. It’s because their defensive scheme, which McDaniel is not altogether unfamiliar with, will prevent Tua from throwing the ball well down the field. That’s how Miami’s previous three opponents have kept Tagovailoa in check, as he has hit less than 50% of his passes during this losing streak. So it’s the Packers plus the points.
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