The Atlanta Falcons defense has been a model of inconsistency through the first five weeks of the season: they’ve shown tremendous speed and great tackling ability, but there have also been episodes of poor tackling and poor positioning. When this happens, a bye week can work wonders—especially with a young defense like Atlanta’s.
Another thing that can fix a defense’s woes is playing a poor offensive team at home that allows them to get back on track. A team like . . . the Miami Dolphins? Hopefully. Let’s take a deeper look at this matchup and see if things will turn out in Atlanta’s favor.
In the trenches
With the general feeling be that Vic Beasley won’t be on the field for the Falcons this week, this portion of the game becomes a lot more interesting. It really makes the matchup much closer than one would assume, and sets up another confusing and frustrating week for Atlanta fans.
Grady Jarrett and Dontari Poe will have the opportunity for big days against Mike Pouncey, Jermon Bushrod, and Anthony Steen, but they will need to finish plays on early downs and limit Jay Ajayi’s yards before contact.
This seems like a matchup that the Falcons could win, but I’ve said that for the last few weeks and they have yet to take control of the line of scrimmage. Here’s my hunch: each team will make plays, Takk McKinley gets that statue, Jay Cutler, on the ground, but this is a tougher test than it needs to be. Why? Because, Atlanta (also injuries/depth...).
Advantage: Push (maybe a slight Falcons edge but too close to call)
While the battle at the line of scrimmage may be tighter than we hope, I think the Falcons secondary and linebackers will have a really solid day. Trufant has played extremely well this season and Ricardo Allen is making his return after missing the game against Buffalo two weeks ago.
The Dolphins have some threats in the passing game: Kenny Stills, Devante Parker, Jarvis Landry, and Julius Thomas, but none of them has really produced at the level that truly scares defenses.
The Falcons secondary will not have the luxury of a consistent pass rush this week, so they will need to defend for a second or two longer than they may be used to. Duke Riley will need to be more consistent making tackles in space, as well as Deion Jones.
If this group can avoid penalties and simply make tackles when they are in position, they will shut down the Dolphins offense:
Advantage: Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta’s defense has a lot more speed than any other team the Dolphins have played—especially that garbage Saints defense—and Miami has struggled mightily on offense through the first five weeks of the season.
This Miami offense is bad. They don’t have any real identity and are sometimes really tough to watch, but we also know that the Falcons have a tendency to make things easier than they should be for teams like this.
All I ask of the Falcons defense this week is to make tackles and avoid ill-timed penalties. If they do that, they should be fine. If not, we will be sweating another close game on Sunday. I’m not sold on this defense yet but this Miami offense is really bad, so I’m going to give the edge to the home team.