After a tight victory last week at home to an improving St. Louis Rams squad, the Falcons take to the road to do battle with a wildly surprising Miami Dolphins team. People knew Miami was on the way up but to start 2-0 after two big victories on the road is downright impressive. Fans will be eager to greet their undefeated team with a deafening roar on Sunday, but the Falcons to have the talent and personnel to silence any crowd quite quickly. Even though they enter Miami pretty banged up and decimated due to injuries, they still possess talent and will give the Dolphins all they can handle. Entering any game as underdogs is a unique role for Atlanta, and how they handle this spot and the injuries will be revealed late Sunday afternoon. For now, you’ll have to settle with our game thoughts and official selection listed below.
Falcons at Dolphins Betting Odds:
Atlanta Falcons +3 (-130)
@ Miami Dolphins -3 (+110)
Over 44.5 (-110)
Under 44.5 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Falcons at Dolphins Pick:
Much like last week’s Falcons/Rams line which stuck out to me, this one again sticks out to me. The Falcons are better than having to lay points against a fringe playoff team. Sure the Dolphins enter this game 2-0 but beating the Browns and the Colts can be a tad misleading. Those are bad to mediocre teams, and even with all of the injuries the Falcons currently possess, they remain a premier team that can contend for this year’s Super Bowl.
Expect a lot of points in this contest. Yes, the Falcons are definitely banged up on both sides of the football and yes, they are the NFL’s most depleted team. But they still possess Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzalez. That quartet remains lethal and likely the best in the sport right now. The Dolphins defense is about middle-of-the-pack and simply won’t be good enough to stop the Falcons. Atlanta will need to score points since their defense cannot be counted upon. Look for Ryan to air it out with regularity on Sunday, and the Dolphins secondary to struggle mightily when it comes to containing the Falcons’ dangerous wideouts.
On the other side of the ball, the Dolphins are better than expected, but are they really ready to enter as favourites against a premier squad like the Falcons? I’m not so sure about that. Despite the injuries to the Falcons, they still are the better team in this contest. Ryan Tannehill has been dependable thus far through his first two NFL seasons, but there still remains some doubt as to how effective he can be on a consistent basis.
With Steven Jackson out, expect Jacquizz Rodgers to handle most of the ball-carrying duty. The youngster is immensely talented but just hasn’t been able to find his footing yet in the NFL. He is an elusive speedster with the skill and ability to wreak havoc on Miami’s front-seven. Expect the Dolphins to over-compensate for Atlanta’s dangerous aerial attack, in turn opening up lanes and holes for Rodgers. Expect a lot of short passes coming Rodgers way on Sunday, and look for the former Oregon State Beaver to put his name on the map in Miami.
Tannehill has proven he has the goods to be solid and reliable, but can he go toe-to-toe in an offensive battle with Matty Ice? No way. The Falcons will score, they’re simply lethal with the football, and though their offense will concede points, Tannehill and the Dolphins can’t keep up in a shootout. The visitor in Miami games is 52-29 against the spread in recent seasons, and the Dolphins are 9-32 against the spread when listed as home favourites during that time period. This is a tough spot for both teams, but ultimately look for Atlanta’s offense (and Matt Ryan’s arm) to carry them to victory. Miami, despite entering this game 2-0 were actually out-gained on yardage against the Browns and Colts. They’re a mirage, and they will get exposed by a depleted Falcons squad on Sunday. Take Atlanta as 3-point road underdogs.
PICK = Falcons +3 (-130)