Dolphins vs Falcons 2011 NFL Preseason Week 1 Preview
The Miami Dolphins will kick off their 2011 NFL preseason schedule with a visit to the Georgia Dome, where they will bump heads with last season’s NFC South winners, the Atlanta Falcons. If this was a regular season game, I would be throwing a lot of love the Falcons’ way, but it isn’t. We will probably see the starters play a series or two on Friday night and although Atlanta’s second and third teams are still better than Miami’s, this game will be close because the Dolphins won’t have to deal with Matt Ryan and company for too long. The Dolphins finished 7-9 last season, but they didn’t do too much to create the hopes of a better season in South Florida.
The Dolphins did acquire Reggie Bush from the New Orleans Saints and when he teams up with rookie Daniel Thomas in the backfield, Miami’s running game should pose a tough matchup for opposing defenses. Brandon Marshall is expected to be 100% healthy and recovered from the stabbing incident that occurred in Miami over the offseason. The scapegoat for the Dolphins’ shortcomings is going to be Chad Henne. The fans are very disgruntled over the fact that Miami did not add one of the several quarterbacks that were available in free agency.
Henne could still come out and surprise people as he is being pushed in camp by a competition with QB Matt Moore, but Henne has expressed how hurt he was by the ‘We Want Orton’ chants by fans at one of the Dolphins’ first practices. He’ll have to suck it up when he faces off against John Abraham and the rest of the Falcons’ defensive front. On defense, the Dolphins are going to have to cover Roddy White and Julio Jones at the same time, which will pose a problem since Miami’s secondary is not known for its playmaking ability.
While the Falcons didn’t get the free agent they wanted in Defensive End Charles Johnson, they got Ray Edwards from the Vikings and working on the other side of John Abraham should give them both a better chance to rush the passer. It is uncertain how much playing time Edwards will see in the preseason, as he is coming off of knee surgery this offseason. The Falcons allowed all of 57 points last preseason while Miami allowed 76, two of the lowest totals in the NFL. Miami only scored 68 points over the four games though and Atlanta scored 55, so don’t expect to see too much scoring here.
The Falcons are 2.5-point favorites in this game and I think that they should not have a problem covering that point spread. The point total has been set at 33.5 points, which seems a bit high for these teams’ first preseason games. The Falcons are extremely good on their home turf and even though it is Matt Ryan who has led them to all those home victories over the past few seasons, we have to assume that the entire roster is more comfortable playing at the Georgia Dome.