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GAME TIME: 1:00 PM EST on Sunday, Dec 26th. The game will be broadcast regionally on FOX, on DirecTV channel 708 and on Sirius radio channels 122 and 155.

PLACE: Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL.

FORECAST: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 10am. Cloudy through mid morning, then gradual clearing, with a temperature falling to around 59 by 4pm. Windy, with a west wind between 20 and 23 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph.

FIELD CONDITIONS: Sun Life Stadium's grass field should be in good shape. There is a high probability of showers on Sunday morning, so the field could be a little wet.

STANDINGS & STATS: The Dolphins are 7-7, in 3rd place in the AFC East. The Lions are last in the NFC North, with a 4-10 record.

Dolphins       Pts/Game  Rank   Lions          Pts/Game  Rank
Scored          17.1      31    Scored          22.0      17
Allowed         18.6       8    Allowed         23.5      19

Dolphins       Yds/Game  Rank   Lions          Yds/Game  Rank
Total Offense:	 321      22    Total Defense:   347      21
      Rushing:   103      21          vs Rush:   126      24
      Passing:	 218      18          vs Pass:   221      14

Lions                           Dolphins
Total Offense:	 342      16    Total Defense:   298       4
      Rushing:   103      23          vs Rush:    97       6
      Passing:   239      11          vs Pass:   201       6

Sacks		Made (Avg/G)	Allowed (Avg/G)
Dolphins         37    2.6        31      2.2
Lions            39    2.8        24      1.7

Turnover differential:
Dolphins         -8
Lions            +2

Individual Skill Position Stats:
Dolphins                        
QB:   QB Henne:     266-430-2952-14-16-77.6
Rush: RB Brown:               182-683-3.8-4
Rush: RB Williams:            139-597-4.3-2
Rec:  WR Marshall:            71-815-11.5-3
Rec:  WR Bess:                71-751-10.6-3
Rec:  TE Fasano:              37-497-13.4-4

Lions       
QB:   QB Stanton:       69-119-780-4-3-78.4
Rush: RB Best:                155-497-3.2-4
Rush: RB Morris:               66-293-4.4-3
Rec:  WR Johnson:           73-1068-14.6-12
Rec:  TE Pettigrew:            64-629-9.8-3
Rec:  RB Best:                 51-411-8.1-1

Legend 
     QBs: completions-attempts-yards-touchdowns-ints-rating
     RBs: rushes-yards-average-touchdowns
     WRs: receptions-yards-average-touchdowns
HISTORY: The Dolphins hold a 7-2 record against the Lions and a perfect 4-0 record against Detroit in Miami. The last time these two teams met was in 2006 at Detroit, when the Dolphins beat the Lions 27-10.

INJURIES:

DOLPHINS: 
Doubtful:     LB Karlos Dansby (toe)
Probable:     S  Chris Clemons (groin)

LIONS: 
Out:          QB Matthew Stafford (shoulder)
Doubtful:     S  Louis Delmas (concussion)
Questionable: QB Shaun Hill (finger)
              LB Landon Johnson (neck)
              QB Drew Stanton (shoulder)
Probable:     LB Vinny Ciurciu (concussion)
              DE Turk McBride (ankle)
              DE Cliff Avril (rib)
              RB Jahvid Best (toe)
              DE Lawrence Jackson (groin)
              WR Calvin Johnson (ankle)
              RB Maurice Morris (chest)
              CB Amari Spievey (back)

DOLPHINS' STARTERS:

Offense:		     Defense:
QB -  7 Chad Henne           LE  - 70 Kendall Langford
RB - 23 Ronnie Brown         NT  - 96 Paul Soliai
FB - 36 Lousaka Polite       RE  - 94 Randy Starks
WR - 19 Brandon Marshall     SLB - 55 Koa Misi
WR - 15 Davone Bess          ILB - 52 Channing Crowder
TE - 80 Anthony Fasano       ILB - 51 Tim Dobbins
LT - 77 Jake Long            WLB - 91 Cameron Wake
LG - 68 Richie Incognito     LCB - 21 Vontae Davis
C  - 67 Joe Berger           RCB - 24 Sean Smith
RG - 74 John Jerry           SS  - 37 Yeremiah Bell
RT - 76 Lydon Murtha         FS  - 30 Chris Clemons

K -   5 Dan Carpenter        P   -  2 Brandon Fields

PR - 15 Davone Bess          KR  - 28 Nolan Carroll
NOTES: Lydon Murtha continues as the starting right tackle, while Tim Dobbins will probably stand in for Karlos Dansby.
LIONS' STARTERS: 

Offense:                     Defense:
QB - 5  Drew Stanton         LDE - 92 Cliff Avril
RB - 44 Jahvid Best          LDT - 90 Ndamukong Suh 
FB - 45 Jerome Felton        RDT - 99 Corey Williams
WR - 13 Nate Burleson        RDE - 75 Turk McBride
WR - 81 Calvin Johnson       LLB - 98 Julian Peterson
TE - 84 Brandon Pettigrew    MLB - 54 DeAndre Levy
LT - 76 Jeff Backus          RLB - 55 Landon Johnson
LG - 67 Rob Sims             LCB - 23 Chris Houston
C  - 51 Dominic Raiola       RCB - 30 Nathan Vasher
RG - 66 Stephen Peterman     SS  - 39 C.C. Brown
RT - 78 Corey Hilliard       FS  - 42 Amari Spievey

K  - 3  Dave Rayner          P   - 2  Nick Harris

PR - 11 Stefan Logan         KR  - 11 Stefan Logan
NOTES: The Lions are being secretive about who will start at quarterback this week, with both Sean Hill and Drew Stanton listed as questionable. However, Stanton has started the last two weeks and the Lions have won both games. If Landon Johnson can't start at linebacker, his backup is listed as Ashlee Palmer.

KEY MATCHUPS:

  1. The Dolphins vs Themselves: The Dolphins are their own worst enemy. Now that they are out of the playoffs, will they play better or worse?
  2. WR Calvin Johnson vs Sean Smith and Vontae Davis: Johnson is having an incredible year on a poor team and is an amazing talent. Davis and Smith are improving, but still occasionally make bad mistakes.
  3. DT Ndamukong Suh vs RG John Jerry: Lions DT Ndamukong Suh is a rookie who leads the team with 8 sacks and has 55 tackles and 1 interception, which are excellent numbers for any defensive tackle, let alone a rookie.
  4. Cameron Wake vs RT Corey Hilliard: Wake was held without a sack last week, which made it much easier for the Bills to beat the Dolphins. Miami must generate a pass rush against the Lions to keep their passing game in check.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Chad Henne actually played better against the Bills than he has been playing, even though it was all for naught. His play will, as always, be crucial to the Dolphins' chances. However, the toughest job on offense this week belongs to RG John Jerry who will face the Lions' rookie sensation, Ndamukong Suh. The Dolphins also need some production from receivers other than Bess and Marshall.

Cameron Wake was not a factor in last week's game, but should bounce back this week. Tim Dobbins will most likely take Karlos Dansby's place at middle linebacker, while Sean Smith, Vontae Davis and Nolan Carroll have a very tough test this week.

With Lions' quarterback Mathew Stafford out for the season, either Drew Stanton or Sean Hill will start this week, but the Lions have not announced who it will be. The best player on the Lions' offense is WR Calvin Johnson, who already has over 1000 receiving yards this season and 12 touchdowns. But the Dolphins can't afford to ignore WR Nate Burleson (5 TDs) or TE Brandon Pettigrew.

The Lions defense is anchored in the middle by the 2nd overall draft pick in this year's draft, DT Ndamukong Suh, who has 8 sacks already this year and leads the pro-bowl voting at defensive tackle for the NFC. Outside linebacker Julian Peterson leads the team with 82 tackles.

On special teams, Lions' return man Stefan Logan is very dangerous, averaging 28 yards per kickoff return and 12 yards per punt return with 1 touchdown.

MY ANALYSIS:

On paper, the Dolphins are the better team in this matchup. They beat the Lions in most statistical categories and have a better record in a stronger division.

On the field, however, the Dolphins are in an extremely bad position. They are playing at home, where they have posted a dismal 1-6 record. They were just knocked out of the playoffs with a dismal offensive performance last week against a team they should have beaten easily.

Their offense has regressed from the beginning of the year: they have scored an average of 11.3 points per game over the last 3 weeks and an average of just 8 points per game at home since they beat the Titans.

The Lions, on the other hand, have been surging the last couple of weeks, beating the Packers and Buccaneers. They have an extremely dangerous, big-play offense and a tough defense. Like the Bills, they started very badly this year, but have been steadily improving.

All of this adds up to a very dangerous game for the Dolphins. If Miami continues to play the way they have been playing for the last couple of weeks on offense, they will lose this game.

The offensive key for Miami this week will be to control the line of scrimmage, especially on the right side. Lydon Murtha and John Jerry will need to control Ndamukong Suh to establish the running game and allow Henne time to pass. Unfortunately, the Dolphins may find themselves overmatched there.

The defense should be able to keep the Lions' offense from running up a lot of points. Regardless of whether the Lions start Sean Hill or Drew Stanton at quarterback, Miami's defense should be able to control the line of scrimmage and limit the Lions' offense. WR Calvin Johnson will catch his share of passes, but I don't believe he will dominate the game.

Unfortunately, that won't mean much if the Dolphins' offense doesn't play much better than they have been playing. If Miami's offense can score at least 20 points on Sunday, they will probably win this game. But can they score 20 points?

PLACES TO WATCH:

To watch the game on TV, you may go to one of the sports bars listed on my "Places To Watch" web page.

To listen to the game live over the Internet, you must now pay the NFL for the privelege. They are charging $9.99 (US) per month or $39.99 for the season for something you used to get for free. If you want to sign up for that, go to the following link NFL Field Pass.

Also, here is a list of some websites that have live scores and updates. Both the Official Website and NFL.com have almost live applications that run in your browser and give you current stats and play-by-play information.

Related Info:
     
   
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