Miami notched their second win of the season in their first true home game. They were fortunate to run into Titans team that was without Marcus Mariota though, as despite an early fumble return for a touchdown but Reshad Jones, the Dolphins offense was once again very poor and simply could not get a hold in the game. Only a late touchdown to Jarvis Landry spared their blushes.
The Falcons were on a bye last week, licking their wounds from a surprise loss at the hands of the Bills.
Find a spark
The Dolphins offense is perhaps the worst unit in the NFL right now. Only last-minute scores have prevented a trio of shutouts in the last three weeks. Miami are managing just 10.3 points a game and 231.3.3 yards a game. Unsurprisingly those are dead-last in the league by some margin. They have to find some sort of spark to get the offense rolling, otherwise I wouldn’t be surprised to see Adam Gase end up out of a job, because offensive gurus don’t stay employed for long if they can’t score points.
Involving Julio Jones
The brilliant receiver is yet to find the end zone this season and has only pulled down 19 catches in four games so far this season. Those are not the numbers one expects from Julio. A hip injury took him out of the Bills game and has limited him in practice this week, but he has said he’s good to go, and if that really is the case then the Falcons simply must involve him in the offense more. Mohamed Sanu will be absent for this game, leaving Matt Ryan with fewer options on the outside too.
The upset blueprint
Miami come into this one as serious underdogs, while means any hope of a win requires some guts on the part of Adam Gase. Turnovers will be key, but so will emptying whatever bag of tricks he has and convincing Jay Cutler to stretch the field. The Dolphins offense has been oddly conservative so far this season, but deep shots, fourth down attempts and some trick plays will be vital to keeping the offense on the field, keeping the scoreboard ticking, and most importantly keeping Matt Ryan on the sideline.
Dolphins DE Cameron Wake vs Falcons RT Ryan Schraeder
The Falcons right tackle has cleared the concussion protocol and is back at practice, but he may wish he wasn’t given he will be going against the ageless wonder Cameron Wake. Wake leads the Dolphins in QB hits (8) and tackles for loss (5), and has 2.5 sacks to his name despite being closer to his 36th birthday than his 35th. The terror he reigns off the edge is one of the reasons the Dolphins defense has been able to shoulder the burden of the weak offense so far this season, and Schraeder will need to be at his best to keep Matt Ryan up right and firing bombs.
Fantasy Tip: Falcons RB Tevin Coleman
The #2 back in Atlanta is a very good option this weekend. He has more targets and receptions than Taylor Gabriel, and with Sanu out he is only likely to get more looks. He also has six plays of 20+ yards and a score so far.
Betting Tip: Falcons (-11.5)
Taking a double-digit favorite is always tough, because it leaves a big opening for a backdoor cover, but the Dolphins have been so inept that there is little-to-no reason to worry about them putting up 20 points against a young, fast Falcons defense.
Prediction: Atlanta Falcons 36 – 13 Miami Dolphins
This one has cakewalk written all over it. The Falcons are a strong home team, well-rested, and angry. The Dolphins have been to London and are facing a season without a break. Jay Cutler has not bedded in well with the team and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was his final start of the season.
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