The Green Bay Packers are coming off of back-to-back wins against the Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Rams, but are staring down a Christmas day matchup with the Miami Dolphins — who have won more games in 2022 than the Bears and Rams combined. While the Packers have kept their outside shot to make a playoff run alive over the last few weeks, a loss to the Dolphins has the potential to knock them out of the postseason chase before Week 17 kicks off.
According to FiveThirtyEight, Green Bay makes the playoffs in eight percent of its 50,000 simulations of how the season ends. Should the Packers win, independent of the other results in the league, Green Bay’s chances of making the postseason jump up to 20 percent. Should they lose in Miami, though, they’ll drop down to just one percent.
Not only do the Packers need to win out in their final three games of the season to even make it as the NFC’s seventh-seeded team, but they also need some help along the way. Notably, they need the Seattle Seahawks to drop at least one game and the Washington Commanders to drop two games, in the team’s most realistic path into the playoffs.
Green Bay’s defense has struggled to tackle players in the middle of the field all season, which is evident in the team’s terrible run defense stats. Meanwhile, the Dolphins have been one of the best, if not the best, offense in the league in maximizing yardage in the middle of the field. With speedy receivers in Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle to throw to, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has put together a career year and is in the MVP conversation.
Against the Los Angeles Chargers and San Francisco 49ers earlier this month, though, Tagovailoa completed just 28 of 61 passes for 440 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions and a passer rating of 73.1 in two losses. Those defenses schematically sold out on shutting down the middle of the field, but that could be easier said than done for this Packers defense.2022
Key injuries to watch in this game are to left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee, abdomen) and running back A.J. Dillon (concussion protocol). Bakhtiari had an emergency appendectomy two weeks ago and has yet to return to practice since the surgery. Dillon left Monday’s game against the Rams as he was evaluated for a concussion, but the team has not confirmed or denied that he has a concussion as of Tuesday morning. It’s worth noting that Aaron Jones, who splits carries with Dillon, was on a pitch count against the Rams as he has been battling through nagging injuries throughout the season.
The Dolphins are currently 5.5-point home favorites in this matchup on DraftKings after originally being listed as 4-point favorites on Sunday, despite the Packers winning on Monday night. Green Bay’s moneyline of +200 carries an implied probability that the Packers win this game 33 percent of the time.