Falcons To Brush Aside Dolphins On Home Soil

Beasley could return from injury

The Atlanta Falcons will continue their push to return to the Super Bowl when they face off against the Miami Dolphins at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday.

Dan Quinn’s men had their bye week in week five of the campaign, allowing them to rest up following a tough opening month. The Falcons displayed no signs of a hangover from their Super Bowl defeat, suffering just one defeat in their opening four matches.

Although they boast a 3-1 record, their performances were not flawless. Atlanta needed two goal-line stops against the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions to secure narrow victories. However, they did produce a fine outing to defeat the Green Bay Packers in week two of the season.

Their only defeat came at the hands of the Buffalo Bills, where they were surprisingly off the boil on offense in the contest. Matt Ryan and company produced only 17 points, but will have the opportunity to bounce back against the Dolphins.

Adam Gase’s men have battled to a 2-2 record after missing the opening week of the campaign. However, the club have serious problems on offense due to the struggles of Jay Cutler. The quarterback was signed after Ryan Tannehill was ruled out for the term. Cutler’s performances have been poor, leaving the Dolphins with one of the worst offenses in the NFL.

The run game has not been effective as Jay Ajayi has failed to come to the fore. The defense has managed to keep Miami alive, but the pressure is on them to resolve their issues quickly.

We’ll now look at both sides’ start to the season and break down the contest using the latest betting odds.

Atlanta Falcons

Beasley could return from injury

Credit: Getty Images

The Falcons return to action following their bye week. Vic Beasley missed their last two matches after suffering a hamstring injury, but the linebacker returned to the practice field on Wednesday.

Whether he will be able to make his comeback against the Dolphins remains to be seen. Beasley has been the Falcons’ best pass-rusher over the past two seasons and his return to the fold will improve the quality of their defense for the rest of the term.

Without Beasley, the Falcons had to rely on Brooks Reed and Adrian Clayborn to get to the quarterback. The duo have performed solidly this term, notching five sacks between them. Atlanta have a defense on the rise, with the unit currently ranked in the top 10  in the NFL, allowing less than 320 yards per match. The return of Desmond Trufant in the secondary has allowed Quinn’s men to clamp down on leading passing offenses, limiting the Packers and the Lions in their victories.

Second-year players Deion Jones, Grady Jarrett and Keanu Neal have continued to improve. The potential of the group is exciting and should they continue to develop, the defense could be ranked in the top five come the end of the term.

Ryan and the offense struggled last time out against the Bills, mustering just 17 points. Julio Jones did limp out with a foot injury, but should be fit to face the Dolphins.

The Falcons need him to return as their offensive unit has lacked the same vigour as the 2016 season. It was always going to be hard to match their exploits of last term, but they need a breakout game to rediscover their clinical edge in the redzone.

Miami Dolphins

Cutler has to improve this week

Credit: AP Images

The Dolphins boast a 2-2 record, but they are a team in trouble unless their offense comes to life. Cutler was brought in to the club by Gase after enjoying mild success with the quarterback with the Chicago Bears in 2015. However, the 34-year-old has struggled immensely during his four matches, throwing for just 92 yards last week. Cutler’s body language has come under scrutiny during his career and his attitude has already come under fire in Miami.

During the Dolphins’ win over the Tennessee Titans last week there were calls for backup Matt Moore to replace Cutler. As a result, the veteran needs a strong performance against the Falcons to stave off further criticism. He has the talent around him with Jarvis Landy, Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker all viable options down the field.

However, his issues with accuracy have prevented him from bringing them into play. Life will not get easier against Atlanta’s secondary, demanding a flawless outing from the passing game.

The ground game has not ease the pressure on Cutler. Ajayi has averaged 3.4 yards per carry, rushing for 276 yards. The 24-year-old was one of the breakout players of the 2016 season, but he has taken a step back this term. Due to Cutler’s issues, he needs to take charge of the offense to get his team on track.

Defensively, the Dolphins have needed to rise to the challenge of atoning for the ineffective displays of their offense. They’ve held all four of their opponents to 20 points or under. Andre Branch and Cameron Wake have been on form early in the campaign, and will need to remain a constant presence around the quarterback for the rest of the term.

Betting Options

The Falcons will be refreshed coming off their bye week and will be determined to get back to winning ways. Miami barely defeated the Titans on home soil, who were without their starting quarterback last week. They now face the challenge of facing the Falcons on the road, with an offense that will struggle to match Ryan and company score-for-score.

Gase’s men will have to channel the display of their AFC East rivals – the Bills – to have any hope of pulling off the win. If they can shorten the game using the running power of Ajayi, while playing solid defense they have a chance. However, anything less than perfection from their defense will put them in trouble.

As a result, Atlanta should be on course for the win at odds of -700 with BetOnline, while taking the Falcons to cover the -13.5 spread at odds of 15/13 with 888Sport would also be prudent.

The Dolphins have mustered just 41 points in their first four matches of the campaign. Expect their offensive struggles to continue against the Falcons – therefore back them at odds of 20/23 with ComeOn to score under 15.5 points at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Tips Summary

Atlanta Falcons To Beat Miami Dolphins
Sunday 15th October 2017 13:00 ET (18:00 BST)
Odds: -700

Atlanta Falcons To Cover -13.5 Spread
Sunday 15th October 2017 13:00 ET (18:00 BST)
Odds: +115

Miami Dolphins To Score Under 15.5 Points
Sunday 15th October 2017 13:00 ET (18:00 BST)
Odds: -115