Preseason Preview: Atlanta Falcons vs Miami Dolphins


Game Time: August 25, 2016 at 8:00 PM EST

Preseason Week 2 Recap

            The Atlanta Falcons will face off against the Miami Dolphins, at Camping World Stadium, for the third preseason game. Last week, the Falcons defeated the Browns 24-13, in Cleveland. Matt Simms was the leading passer for the Falcons. He went 10-of-13 for 136 yards and one touchdown. Newly acquired RB Cyrus Gray carried the ball 18 times for 76 yards. Devin Fuller led the wide receivers with four receptions for 49 yards and one touchdown. Adrian Clayborn and Joey Mbu each had one sack.
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Atlanta Falcons vs Miami Dolphins (photo credits: Miami Dolphins)
            The first team offense did much better than in the first preseason game. On their first drive, they marched down the field and scored a touchdown on a Devonta Freeman 19-yard run. The Browns answered with a touchdown drive of their own. Terrelle Pryor beat Desmond Trufant for a touchdown from a 50-yard pass from Robert Griffin III. That would be one of the biggest stories of the night. However on the play, the defense was not set which allowed Pryor to get a head start. RB Brandon Wilds also had a good game with 49 yards on eight carries. Kicker Nick Rose did not have a good game. He missed a 48-yard field goal and the kicks he did make were not convincing. The Falcons ended up releasing Rose on Saturday and signed Shayne Graham as a replacement.
            The Miami Dolphins were defeated by the Dallas Cowboys 41-14 in week two of the preseason. Ryan Tannehill was 12-of-20 for 162 yards and two touchdowns. Isaiah Pead was the leading rusher for the Dolphins with 48 yards on four carries. Kenny Stills led the wide receivers with three receptions for 71 yards. The Dallas offense overwhelmed the Miami defense though. Backup QB Dak Prescott went 12-of-15 for 199 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for two scores. RB Alfred Morris ran for 85 yards on thirteen attempts and had one touchdown. The Dolphins will need a better offensive and defensive showing when they face the Atlanta Falcons.

What to Expect

            The third preseason game is the most similar to a regular season game. The starters will play the majority of the time and the team will actually game plan for the Dolphins. Atlanta will have Vic Beasley Jr. back for the game against the Dolphins and this will help the defense tremendously, however Dwight Freeney will not play. Kemal Ishmael will be out again this week, which will give Keanu Neal more playing time. Kicker Matt Bryant will once again be out. The Falcons expect him to start practicing again this Sunday. Consequently, Shayne Graham will take over the kicking duties while Bryant is still sidelined. Punter Matt Bosher was injured last week on what may have been an illegal hit, but he will be back for this game though. Running back Terron Ward will also miss this game. Brandon Wilds and Cyrus Gray will take these snaps and will be fighting for the third running back position.
            For the Dolphins, DE Cameron Wake is a game-time decision. RB Kenyan Drake returned to practice Tuesday but will not play in Thursday’s game. Second-round draft pick CB Xavien Howard also returned to practice Tuesday. He missed the first three weeks of training camp with a knee injury and will not be available for Thursday’s game either.
            The Falcons hope their offense can come out with the same intensity that they had last week. WR Mohamed Sanu will get a chance to prove he was worth his big contract with more playing time this Thursday. Atlanta hopes he can be a viable number two option next to Julio Jones. Defensively, Trufant doesn’t get beaten often, so expect him to play with a chip on his shoulder this week. For the Dolphins, they need to play all-round better football. Their defense cannot afford to give up forty-one points again and their offense will need to put more than fourteen points on the board.

What both teams will learn

          After this game, Atlanta will have a better idea of what their 53-man roster will look like. Many of the younger players are fighting for a spot on the team, however they will have limited playing time this week. Therefore, they will have to really step up and show out. Dan Quinn will also be monitoring the competition for the starting right guard position. Chris Chester is the starter currently, but rookie Wes Schweitzer is challenging him for the spot. Schweitzer has been playing most of the snaps in preseason, but will he be able to unseat veteran Chester? This will be the first preseason game where the defense will be almost fully healthy, so Falcons fans should get a good look at how the starting defense will look this season.
            For Miami, Head Coach Adam Gase is hoping WR Kenny Stills can provide new life to their offense. The Dolphins cannot rely solely on WR Jarvis Landry. After having a down year in 2015, Stills needs to play better and become a solid number two receiver. Miami will also expect newly acquired DE Mario Williams to revive the defense. Williams only had five sacks last year, but playing alongside Cameron Wake will help his sack numbers. Miami hopes Williams can return to his 2014 form. Falcon fans can expect another good game with the Falcons coming out on top.
Prediction: Falcons 31, Dolphins 10