It’s finally time to reveal my prediction for Sunday’s game between the Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons. I’ve included picks from experts in the media as well, and I encourage each of you post your prediction for the game in the comments section.
ESPN: 7 of 13 picked Dolphins
NFL Playbook: 2 of 3 picked Falcons
CBS Sports: 5 of 8 picked Falcons
Fox Sports: 3 of 4 picked Falcons
Bleacher Report: 8 of 12 picked Falcons
Heading into the season, this was one game I had circled as a loss for the Dolphins instead of a win or tossup. But circumstances have changed. Borderline drastically. And the Dolphins will have a great opportunity to reach 3-0 Sunday versus the Falcons.
Two big injuries in the secondary concern me. Potentially no Chris Clemons at free safety and no Dimitri Patterson covering the right boundary and slot could be an issue against Atlanta’s big-play passing game. But I like how Miami matches up in virtually every other aspect.
The Dolphins’ biggest weakness on offense is pass protection after conceding a combined nine sacks in Cleveland and Indianapolis. Well, the Falcons don’t rush the passer very well, and only produced two sacks in the first two games.
Ryan Tannehill will have time. Time to expose an inexperienced Falcons secondary, which projects to employ two rookie cornerbacks given Asante Samuel’s absence from practice this week.
On the other side of the field, two of the worst starting tackles in football will attempt to protect Matt Ryan against a Dolphins pass rush that was tied for first in the entire league through two weeks with 9.0 sacks. And if the Dolphins can consistently get after Ryan with their front four, which they should be able to do, containing weapons like Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez will be more manageable.
The Dolphins are the team with momentum. The Dolphins are also the team playing at home. I like them to win this game, which should be a thriller, with a late fourth-quarter touchdown and another huge defensive stop.
THE PICK: Miami 27, Atlanta 23
Alright, let’s hear your predictions. Post your final score in the comments.