Atlanta Falcons: Game Predictions vs Miami Dolphins


The Atlanta Falcons take a trip to Miami for the regular season dress rehearsal. It should be a greater spectacle than the previous preseason games as the starters typically play through 2 quarters if not more.

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The Falcons have dominated when starters have been on the field. They haven’t surrendered a single point, nor has the offense left the field without scoring a touchdown. There is an apparent amount of energy in the way the Falcons have played and that can be attributed to Dan Quinn.

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The Dolphins aren’t like the Falcons’ previous opponents, however. First and foremost, they have a stable quarterback situation with Ryan Tannehill looking like he’ll have a breakout year. He is helped by a re-tooled and strong-looking supporting cast, but the offensive line at the guard positions could be a cause for concern.

Defensively, they’re strong as well. Their front-seven is one of the strongest in the league thanks to the arrival of a top-10 defensive player – Ndamukong Suh. The linebacker crew is largely unheralded, but they do their job and are anything but liabilities.

This isn’t to say the Falcons are outmatched. On the whole, they are undoubtedly weaker but they also have their own key strengths which tips the scale back into their favour.

The greatest thing the Falcons have going for them is the Matt RyanJulio Jones combination. There are studies that suggest wide receiver isn’t an important position but you can’t deny good ones allow your quarterback, the most impactful position, to play to his highest level.

The following are some things I expect to see when the Falcons set foot in Sun Life Stadium.

  • The Falcons offensive line has shown some cracks in pass protection and I think the Dolphins will break through to reaffirm the weakness of the offensive line, especially through the interior which is the most devastating pressure. Ndamukong Suh is in a league ahead of the men opposite him.
  • Even with the return of Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman, don’t expect consistent run game production as the offensive line has been unable to create many holes so far. I do think we will get to see an explosive play, however.
  • The Falcons match up very well in the pass game. Dolphins are a bit light on quality depth in the secondary. Matt Ryan shouldn’t have trouble moving the ball if he gets time to throw.
  • The best offensive player will be between Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. With all respect to Brent Grimes, he showed signs of age last year and just can’t match Jones physically.
  • Kyle Shanahan will get the depth receivers in space to produce and he has the quarterback whose mental mastery allows him to scan the field in a flash.
  • I think the team can limit the excellent Lamar Miller in the run game. Dan Quinn’s defenses focus on eliminating mistakes and gap control and discipline is the best way to beat a running back like Miller.
  • Adrian Clayborn and Jonathan Babineaux should be able to make plays against a questionable pair of guards on passing downs. I’m most looking forward to see how they use Ra’Shede Hageman. Will they use him on 3rd and long situations?
  • Mike Pouncey is one of the best centers in the league. His one-on-one battles against Paul Soliai and hopefully some against Ra’Shede Hageman on passing downs should be a treat to watch.
  • The Dolphins have an assortment of receivers which makes them tough to defend. We can trust Desmond Trufant to take away 1 receiver but that still leaves chain movers like Greg Jennings and Jarvis Landry or big-play artists like Kenny Stills, Jordan Cameron and Lamar Miller free. This is looking like it will be a quarterback’s game.

I think it will be a close game by the time the starters go out. While the Dolphins are superior in terms of talent, they can’t stop the Falcons’ biggest strength which should keep them in the game.

In all, I think the Falcons nip it before the reserves enter the game and give new hope to a city screaming for relevance.

Next: Atlanta Falcons: Key Matchups vs Miami Dolphins

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