Let’s set the scene for Dolphins-Packers, shall we?
In one corner, perhaps the greatest quarterback to ever pick up the football.
And in the other ....
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Even rock-slinging David thinks Sunday’s fight in Green Bay is unfair.
But cheer up, Dolphins fans, and remember:
Mike Tyson lost to Buster Douglas.
The Soviets choked in Lake Placid.
Plus UMBC has a banner hanging in the rafters for shocking No. 1 seed Virginia last year.
And the Dolphins, while double-digit dogs against the host Packers Sunday, wouldn’t even be the longest shot to win Sunday.
That title belongs to the Cardinals, who are 16.5-point underdogs against the Chiefs.
So we’re saying there’s a chance.
And Osweiler doesn’t even need to play like the six-time Pro Bowl Rodgers to make it happen.
He simply needs to play like he did against the Bears and Lions — and get some help from his defense.
“When you play against a guy like that, there isn’t room for error because that guy is usually going to be spot-on more than he’s not,” Osweiler said of his matchup with Rodgers. “We know offensively we need to play the best game that we’ve played all year. We need to score points. We need to be ready to score a lot of points. I expect our defense to go out there and play a great game like they did last Sunday. But regardless of what happens, it’s our job as an offense to score more points than the other team.”
Granted, that’s a bunch of ifs. But every time you think you’ve got this Dolphins team figured out, they surprise you.
Win three straight to open the season? A stunner for pundits who thought they were the league’s worst club.
Losses in four of five, when the defense dissolves like toilet paper? A total reversal from the early going.
And a win last week against the Jets despite scoring six offensive points? An unlikely season-saver.
Most everything that could have gone wrong for the Dolphins has this year. Their franchise quarterback has missed half the season — and might not be back at all. Six starters or key role players are out for the season. Their left tackle got concussed late against the Bengals, and everything went to hell.
Yet, the Dolphins with a win Sunday (again, yes, it’s unlikely) would be close to an even-money chance to make the playoffs.
The schedule down the stretch is not daunting. Just two of their last six games are against teams with a winning record. They get the Bills twice, and Buffalo is terrible.
As it is, the Dolphins have a 42 percent chance of making the postseason, according to Football Outsiders, and the sense within the organization is they could make some noise if they get there.
But first, they need to figure out a way to handle Rodgers, who in truth has fallen short of his Hall of Fame standards in 2018.
Rodgers ranks 28th in completion percentage (60.6), 13th in yards-per-attempt (7.77), 16th in touchdowns (15) and 13th in passer rating (98.9).
Those numbers mean absolutely nothing to the Dolphins, however. The spoke in reverential tones about Rodgers in the lead-up to the game.
▪ Coach Adam Gase: “I don’t want to piss Tom Brady off, but he’s probably the top guy. When I see him play, the guy doesn’t make a lot of errors. He looks like he’s playing JV football compared to everybody else. He looks at a different level.”
▪ Linebacker Jerome Baker: “He does pretty much everything well. There’s not a defensive coverage he hasn’t seen. There’s not pretty much anything he hasn’t seen. He’s definitely one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game.”
▪ Cornerback Bobby McCain: “You see all of the Hail Marys and all of the crazy sidearm passes he makes on TV and stuff like that. It’s an exciting opportunity and I can’t wait. I want to see in person what he’s all about and I know he’s one of the great ones.”
If Rodgers has a vintage game Sunday, it probably won’t matter what Osweiler does. But if Rodgers is a little bit off, and Osweiler is on, the Dolphins could pull off their biggest upset of the year.