The Atlanta Falcons fell just short in the Hall of Fame to open up preseason action, but are looking to bounce back in their second go around. Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins are looking to get their feet wet in their preseason opener at home. This sets up what should be an intriguing matchup on Thursday night.
Falcons looking to bounce back in second preseason action
The Falcons are one of two teams in the league that has already gone through preseason action that has begun to knock some of the rust off from not playing a game in several months. It wasn’t an offensive show by any means in the contest, with the Falcons falling 14-10 to the Denver Broncos in the Hall of Fame game last Thursday. As expected, the starters did not take the field in the contest it saw the backup get plenty of run in the first of five preseason games. Although veteran quarterback Matt Schaub struggled to produce in his limited, it did see Kurt Benkert perform a little better as he completed 19-of-34 passes for 185 yards with a touchdown. However, he struggled to move the ball down the field against the Broncos defense as he averaged just a meager 5.4 yards per completion while he was sacked three times.
Granted, it was the first action of the preseason for the Falcons, but the team struggled to move the ball down the field with 18 first downs while averaging 3.5 yards per play. At the same time, the defense held its own, limiting the Broncos to just 188 total yards with 14 first downs, and 3.1 yards per play. Their defense allowed just two scoring drives while forcing two turnovers along with nine punts in the contest. This was an encouraging part of the game despite the loss as their defense had a major impact on the contest that gave them a chance to win. This should be something that will be a theme throughout the preseason, especially with much of this being with backups competing for playing time and roster spots. Given the Falcons’ struggles under center with their two options aside from Matt Ryan, they will need their defense to step it up to give them the opportunity to pull out a win in a lower-scoring affair.
“So the first game, to me, was kind of like a bonus game for all the rookies. And now for the guys who have been more veteran players, their preseason game and exhibition season begins, so it’s like Game 1. And so generally a small amount, second game, a little more, the third game, a little more. So you go into blocks to ramp up the conditioning, ramp up the play. And so some of the guys will get a small amount, as they would in a normal Game 1.” Matt Ryan on his approach to the rest of the preseason
A Season Of Change For The Dolphins
The Dolphins are coming off an offseason of much change for the team that has seen them make several major decisions concerning the roster and coaching staff. This has seen them shift things forward with an entirely new look under center with a different approach by signing veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick while they also made the chose to trade for second-year quarterback Josh Rosen to bring some much-needed competition at the position. Although Rosen is viewed as the potential long-term plan at the spot, Fitzpatrick has remained in the starting job throughout the offseason and training camp up through this point. However, there is plenty of wiggle room for Rosen to make a push to change that current standing between the two ahead of next season. Fitzpatrick’s experience continues to play in his favor, but it will be on a performance basis that will dictate how things flow
Rosen has the benefit of showing in preseason action that he should get real run as the starter this upcoming season for the get-go. There will be plenty of extended action in the preseason beginning on Thursday night. First-year head coach Brian Flores has spoken highly of Rosen voicing that the former UCLA product continues to show improvement on the field. This will only be able to be shown through on-the-field action in the preseason. Although he struggled last year, Rosen has shown flashes that he can be a competent quarterback in the NFL. With a year under his belt, it should give him a chance to push forward in his second campaign. The Falcons’ defense did have a strong showing against Drew Lock last week, but it will be a different story with Rosen, who has NFL experience under his belt.
- Dolphins are 6-2 ATS in their last eight home games.
- Falcons are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games on grass.
- Falcons are 2-6 ATS in their last eight games overall.
- Falcons are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games.