The Edge Report: Miami Dolphins Vs. Atlanta Falcons

This year I thought I would try something a little different.  A match-up between the two teams with a couple of key’s to the game and then who has the edge.  This week, to kick things off, the Atlanta Falcons take center stage against the Miami Dolphins.  What are your thoughts?  Agree or disagree?  Let us know.  Here is the “Edge” report.

Miami Offense vs. Atlanta Offense

EDGE – Atlanta

Last year was no fluke for rookie QB Matt Ryan and the addition of TE Tony Gonazales gives the Falcons another weapon in the redzone and open middle.  With Michael Turner returning for his second season as the “man” in the back-field, the Falcons offense will not be without talent.

For the Dolphins their offense is still in flux.  Are they a power running team?  Not yet.  Are they a down-field passing team?  Not yet.  What they do have is a veteran QB who makes little mistakes.  He will need to be strong against the Falcons.  The Dolphins still are a dink and dunk team that gets their biggest plays from the WidCat.

Miami Defense vs. Atlanta Defense

EDGE – Miami

The Dolphins are built with speed on defense.  While Joey Porter and Jason Taylor are wrapping up their careers, they still are two of the best at putting pressure on opposing QB’s.  The upfront push of the Dolphins front 7 was one of the best teams against the run last season and all are returning for another round except Vonnie Holiday.  In the secondary, the Dolphins biggest weakness could be their biggest strength.  Rookie Sean Smith.

The Falcons have a good defense, but their power is up front and they are still building in their secondary…like Miami.   Last season the Falcons ranked in the 2nd half of the league in most defensive categories.

Miami Special Teams vs. Atlanta Special Teams

Edge – Atlanta

The Dolphins and Falcons are a push at the kicker position with Dan Carpenter and Jason Elam now about the same in talent.  Elam was such a standout in his Denver days but age and injuries has made his a lot less reliable.

The Dolphins have the edge in punting with Brandon Fields but the real difference is the play of the units themselves.  The Dolphins have been able to do little in either the kick/punt defense or the kick/punt offense.  Atlanta may not be stellar but the Dolphins are simply painful to watch sometimes.

Tony Sparano vs. Mike Smith

Edge – Push

Both the Falcons and the Dolphins have themselves coaches of the future.  Both young and hungry but more importantly they both command and earn the respect of their teams.  In Atlanta, Mike Smith is armed on offense while the Dolphins are solid on defense.

Miami coach Tony Sparano enters his second year as the HC and already the team is beginning to look more like a Sparano team than a Bill Parcells squad.  After a full season of hearing “Bill Parcells” in regard to the team on the field, this year, it’s all Tony Sparano.

What to watch

Yeremiah Bell vs. Tony Gonzalez

Bell gets his chance at an aging star, who will win?

Sean Smith Vs. Michael Jenkins

Jenkins is fast but he isn’t lightning fast.  He and Smith are well over 6′ so this should be a good match-up.

Jake Long Vs. John Abraham

Long struggled at times in the pre-season and some wonder if this is the start of a sophomore slump.  This game might tell.

PREDICTIONS

Miami 20 – Atlanta 16

Originally I said the Falcons would score 13 but it seems that their offense should be able to hit another field goal.  O.k so honestly, I thought Anderson was their kicker and not Elam.  Elam is still reliable.  The Dolphins defense should be able to use the bend but don’t break rule and this game will be close and hard fought.  It easily could be swapped around.

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  • jason

    sounds realistic to me i figure who ever has the ball in the last 2 minutes will win the game

  • Kevin

    I could be wrong, but I think Mike Smith coaches Atlanta; Payton coaches in New Orleans, as was oddly enough stated…

  • http://phinphanatic.com Brian Miller

    Kevin, thanks for pointing that out.  I had just finished writing my predictions for the season for things like league MVP and coach of th the year which I predicted would be Payton.  When I got back to this article, Payton was still on my mind…LOL.  Thanks for the heads-up.

  • http://www.miamisportsgeneration.com Miami Sports Generation

    Looking at this in retrospect, you predicted the game much closer than I did. You had the Fins winning 20-16, while I had them winning 27-17. I was closer to Atlanta’s final score, but WAY off on the Fins point count.