So, uh, this week’s going to be interesting. An Atlanta Falcons fan writing a Dolphins-Falcons preview for a site that’s pro-South Florida sports? OH NOES HOW WILL HE DO IT?
Well, if you know anything about me, you’ll remember that I’m pretty good at not letting my biases get in the way of my opinions. You’ll also remember that I care much more about making you laugh than I do about my credibility. So, whatever, man.
You’ll just have to trust that everything you read below is coming from the brain and not the heart. Not that that’s any better. Let’s just get this thing over with…TO THE PREVIEW!
What to watch when Miami has the ball…
Holy smokes, the Dolphins looked good on offense last week. I mean, sure, two Colts defenders just ran right past Charles Clay on what turned into a 67-yard completion. And, sure, Vontae Davis took the dumbest angle possible on the ensuing Lamar Miller touchdown. But, Ryan Tannehill has looked pretty good through two games and that’s not unimportant considering the giant duck fart that is an Atlanta Falcons pass defense, averaging 346.5 yards against on the season.
And if that weren’t enough to make Mike Sherman salivate, the Falcons just lost Kroy Biermann and Sean Weatherspoon for the year. (Sherman will have decimated an entire drawer of tube socks by Saturday night.) If Tannehill doesn’t throw for at least 648 yards this weekend, then the Dolphins are doing this offense thing all wrong.
What to watch when Atlanta has the ball…
It’d probably be easier to tell you all the things you won’t have to watch, because the Falcons have sooooooooooo many weapons that you’ll want to keep an eye on. Like Matt Ryan, for instance. This is the second week in a row Dolphins fans will have to watch a quarterback that could have been theirs playing for a team that most definitely isn’t theirs. Last week, it worked out pretty well, as Tannehill out-dueled Andrew Luck, so maybe that happens again this week? I mean, it’s entirely possible, but…
The difference between the Falcons and Colts is this: Julio Jones, Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez. Harry Douglas is Brian Hartline, but Douglas is Atlanta’s FOURTH receiving threat. The Falcons lost Steven Jackson to injury last week, and that would feel a little bit like dodging a bullet, except it means that Jacquizz Rodgers will probably wind up catching more balls out of the backfield — something he’s pretty good at when given the opportunity. He’s a downgrade from Jackson, certainly, but not one that should slow the Falcons offense all that much because they’re LOADED.
It’s kind of unbelievable. The Dolphins and Falcons began rebuilding at the exact same time in 2008 and the differences in their offenses couldn’t be more glaring. Seriously, have Jeff Ireland and Thomas Dimitroff had access to the same information all these years? I feel like Ireland has been using an outdated Street & Smith’s this whole time.
Tony Gonzalez vs. The Imaginary Player Miami Uses to Cover Tight Ends
Last week, Coby Fleener had four catches for 69 yards and a touchdown. In Week 1, Jordan Cameron had nine catches for 108 yards and a touchdown. And those were two guys who weren’t Hall of Fame tight ends on super-powered offenses. At some point, the Dolphins are going to have to figure out how to stop opposing teams’ tight ends. Maybe you get away with this tomfoolery when you’re playing the Browns — a team with zero other weapons — but not being able to cover the tight end became a factor against the Colts and it’ll certainly be a bigger factor against a team like the Falcons.
More importantly, though — and I don’t think this is being taken seriously enough — it’s not fair that opposing tight ends are allowed to wear cloaking devices when playing Miami. The league should look into this.
Dolphins Defensive Line vs. Falcons Offensive Line Woes
Matt Ryan has seen more than his share of defensive linemen this season. In two games, he’s been sacked five times and hit 14 times. That’s one area where the Dolphins will have a major advantage. If Miami’s defensive line can get pressure on Ryan, it’ll force him into quicker throws and not allow Atlanta’s receivers time to get open deep.
Sacks would be nice in this spot, of course, but you don’t want to ask too much of Dion Jordan, ya know? Some gentle pushing and shoving of Matt Ryan will just have to do on Sunday.
Jeff Ireland vs. Thomas Dimitroff
There are usually so many variables to consider when comparing the tenure of two general managers — and some of those variables still exist here, obviously — but this is about as close as you’re ever going to get to a fair comparison. Both took over their respective franchises at the same time with very little on the roster to work with. They both began with no quarterback and a top-3 draft pick. Since then, Miami has built a grind-it-out team that routinely finishes 7-9.
Atlanta, on the other hand, consistently makes the playoffs with one of the top offenses in the league. Atlanta used their top-3 pick on Matt Ryan. Miami used their top-3 pick on Jake Long. Atlanta signed Tony Gonzalez. Miami signed Tony Fasano. Atlanta traded up for Julio Jones. Miami traded up for Daniel Thomas.
In terms of GM duties, Thomas Dimitroff is skull-banging Jeff Ireland so hard right now. A Dolphins win won’t change that, but a head-to-head win might make you feel better about some things in the short term.
This Probably Won’t Surprise You At All…
I didn’t really enjoy watching football until the eighth grade. And I couldn’t just become a fan of the local team because my dad was a Jets fan and rooting for the Dolphins just wasn’t going to be something that happened in my house. My father never explicitly stated this, but some things are just kind of understood. I also wasn’t going to become a Jets fan because that would cause too many problems with my friends, who were all Dolphins fans. I got picked on alot, anyway, so the idea of inviting even more ridicule into my life just didn’t seem all that appealing.
So, I wound up doing exactly what you’d expect me to do. I chose a team nobody else liked because it was different. Yep, even at the tender young age of 14, I was this obnoxious contrarian. Sure, I liked the uniform colors (my other favorite sports team at the time was the Chicago Blackhawks: red, black and white), but more than anything, I liked that I’d be different.
So, again, I’m that guy. And if you’ve been watching the Falcons long enough, you’ll realize that my actions haven’t gone unpunished.
Someone Said It on the Internet So It Must Be True…
The internet is the worst sometimes, completely ruining people’s lives all in the name of page views. But, sometimes, in the process of ruining those lives, they make you laugh uncontrollably. Take this rumor about former Falcons running back Jamal Anderson, for instance:
“Jamal Anderson is a freak. Dude paid some ratchet stripper from Onyx, to go up in his booty hole with a strap-on.
Don’t these N-gs know, ho’s like to talk?”
Never has a rumor so baseless and destructive been so hilariously worded. Is it legit? Who knows? Who really cares? The only thing that matters is that we all begin using the phrase “go up in his booty hole” a lot more often.
Who Ya’ Got…
Welcome to Atlanta
Welcome to Miami
That One Time Atlanta Made the Super Bowl…
So there I am, a 17-year-old with my first real girlfriend in Universal Studios. We’re there with a youth group, but the two of us are hanging out alone. Also going on at the time is the ’98 NFC Championship Game. I’m ignoring the game because, even though I’m a Falcons fan, I’m also a teenager with a girlfriend and no adults around.
I’m doing okay, getting NFL updates throughout the day from people around me, when I see a crowd gathering at the bar in front of Kongfrontation. I know damn well what’s going on. I take one look at my girlfriend, look over at the bar, then back at my girlfriend…and the next thing I know I’m standing in the middle of a large mob of people, watching Gary Anderson miss a game-winning field goal. The Falcons go on to win in overtime, and I’m hugging people I don’t even know. I can’t even begin tell you where my girlfriend is, so I just keep hugging strangers.
Two weeks later, my girlfriend makes a 45-minute trek to come watch the Super Bowl with me at a party. Clearly, she doesn’t learn. I warn her that I’d be paying more attention to the TV and she’s cool with it. Middle of the first quarter, her phone rings; one of her friends got in a real bad accident. Tells me everything’s okay, to go watch the game, she’s just a little emotional is all.
I make the obvious decision every boyfriend should make…and abandon her for the Falcons. Again.
I suck as a boyfriend.
Miami 45 Atlanta 13
WhatIfSports has the Dolphins winning 45-13 with the help of two 20+-yard touchdowns by Daniel Thomas (!!), a 43-yard touchdown for Charles Clay, a punt return for a touchdown, Lamar Miller riding a unicorn to pay dirt, and Brandon Gibson using black magic. It’s never really close, as Miami takes a commanding 28-6 lead going into the halftime and never looks back. Ryan Tannehill wins the quarterback battle, going 18-26 for 277 yards and two touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the lone Atlanta touchdown comes on a 13-yard Steven Jackson run (he finishes with 6 carries for 21 yards), despite my taking him completely out of the Falcons lineup before simulating the game. This fake Falcons coaching staff just doesn’t seem to listen. They’re just itching to get fake fired.
Dolphins SimMatchup Football Simulated Record: 2-1
Smoot’s Entirely Pointless Prediction…
Atlanta 31 Miami 27