Falcons, Dolphins Seek Rushing Options as They Meet up in Miami
Alan Penny 2013-09-20 in NFL Picks
The Miami Dolphins have surprised some people by getting off to a 2-0 start. On Sunday they will play host to the Atlanta Falcons, a team that is experiencing injury problems early, in NFL betting action that is set to begin at 4:05 PM ET at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL.
In the pro football betting lines that have been published at Bookmaker.eu on this game, the Dolphins are favored by a field goal:
Miami Dolphins -3 +100
Atlanta Falcons +3 -120
This is the NFL total on the Atlanta-Miami game:
Over 44.5 Points -110
Under 44.5 Points -110
The Dolphins had easy pickings in their opening game as they faced Brandon Weeden, who put one foot out the door in Cleveland by getting intercepted three times and sacked six times in the 23-10 Miami win. They were supposed to have a harder time as they traveled to Lucas Oil Stadium for a game with Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts, but they really turned it into more of a showcase for their defense. Ryan Tannehill has not made too many major mistakes, and the Dolphins got some semblance of balance in the attack as they pulled off a road win.
With Miami, the rushing game is something that is far from certain. The team had named Lamar Miller the starter coming out of training camp, but neither him nor Daniel Thomas delivered anything in the opening game. Miller did have 69 yards and a touchdown against the Colts, and the Dolphins (the -140 money line favorite in NFL betting at Bookmaker.eu) certainly hope that he can become the so-called every-down back, but Thomas, who was a great player at Kansas State, remains someone with potential that has largely gone unrealized.
So far it’s been okay for Tannehill, who’s at 65% completions and has almost 600 yards over the first two games. Remember that he is still learning how to play the position, as he was shifted to wide receiver at Texas A&M, where he played for a couple of years before being brought back to the quarterback position by then-coach Mike Sherman, who is now Tannehill’s offensive coordinator in Miami.
The Dolphins have developed a number of playmakers along the front seven. Linebacker Philip Wheeler has turned out to be a great off-season acquisition, and they’ve got some very athletic people in Dannell Ellerbe, Jared Odrick, Cameron Wake and rookie Dion Jordan, and so opposing quarterbacks are going to have to improvise to avoid trouble.
For the Falcons (the +120 underdog at Bookmaker.eu) that means Matt Ryan is going to have to make absolute maximum use of his receivers, since it is almost certain that he’ll have to throw a little more often. Why do we say that? Well, because last week he lost running back Steven Jackson to a hamstring injury. The value of Jackson’s presence in the lineup was that he was not only a guy who has proven he is a 1000-yard rusher, but also very accomplished as a receiver. Durability must now be a question at the age of 30, which provides a “wall” for many running backs.
The way it stands, you’re looking at the likelihood that the Falcons will have to pick up the slack with a combination of Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers in the backfield. they teamed up for 36 yards on 13 carries against St. Louis last week. Fortunately for Ryan, he’s getting some monster stuff out of Julio Jones, who has 18 catches for 258 yards in two games. Unquestionably fantasy team owners will be all over him for the weekend.