Dolphins at Packers
One team is starting a backup at quarterback but still above .500. The other boasts one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks, yet has a losing record.
It’s a topsy-turvy matchup when the Miami Dolphins visit the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Brock Osweiler will make a fifth straight start at quarterback for the Dolphins with Ryan Tannehill nursing a shoulder injury. Two-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers seems to be getting healthier after hurting his left knee in Green Bay’s season opener against the Chicago Bears.
Advantage Packers on offence, at least on paper.
Yet for whatever reasons, what should be a prolific unit isn’t clicking consistently for the Packers (3-4-1), especially in the fourth quarters of their past two losses.
“Yeah, it’s definitely frustrating, especially when you’ve got the talent we do,” receiver Davante Adams said. “We just need a little bit of flow and consistency, and I think that’s what’s going to get this offence moving in the right direction.”
It’s little consolation that the losses have come against two of the league’s best teams, the Rams and Patriots. Miscues on special teams, offence and defence caught up with the Packers in a pair of stinging defeats.
Green Bay may need a “run the table” type of streak to get into the postseason. That phrase uttered by Rodgers turned into a catchword in 2016, when the Packers won eight straight to go from 4-6 to the NFC title game.
“We’re focused on winning No. 4. That’s all we’re talking about right now,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “We improved as a football team the last two weeks, but you have to play your best football coming down the stretch, and that’s clearly been evident the last two weeks.”
The Dolphins (5-4) relied on a resilient defence last week to beat the struggling New York Jets 13-6. Miami had four interceptions and four sacks while holding the Jets to two successful conversions on 15 third- and fourth-down chances.
It’s a nice cushion with Osweiler making another start. The Dolphins are 2-2 with Osweiler behind centre, averaging 22 points a game.
“Any time you play a quarterback that’s as special as Aaron is, you want to limit the amount of possessions that he’s able to have,” Osweiler said. “We know offensively this week it’s very important for us to sustain drives, get first downs and try to be in control of that clock.”