TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: Atlanta Falcons At Miami Dolphins

Atlanta Falcons
Miami Dolphins
Atlanta Falcons v Baltimore Ravens
Miami Dolphins v Houston Texans
Quarterback
Winner After losing to the Saints in the opener, the Falcons should probably not take any team lightly. However, when they see the New England Patriots looming ahead on the schedule, it may be hard to get excited about the Dolphins. Matt Ryan will need to be close to his best against an aggressive and improving Miami defense.
The Dolphins haven’t been a viable NFL team in many seasons, but that could be in the process of turning around this year. Not only have they gotten off to a solid 2-0 start, Ryan Tannehill didn’t receive the notoriety of other top rookie quarterbacks, but he is a sharp signal caller and he can find the weaknesses in a defense and exploit them.
Offense
Winner Steven Jackson scored the opening touchdown of the game after taking a pass from Ryan, but he bruised his thigh on the play and did not return. His status against Miami has not been determined. Julio Jones and Roddy White were limited in practice all week but both played vs. St. Louis and Jones was sensational. They should have an advantage over the Miami secondary.
The Dolphins don’t have a scary offense, but they are getting much better. Lamar Miller had 69 yards and gave them a credible running game. However the big moment for the Dolphins came from former Steeler Mike Wallace, who caught 9-115-1, and he will challenge the Falcons defense. Charles Clay and Brian Hartline are solid secondary threats for this improving team.
Defense
Winner The Falcons got off to a rousing start against the Rams, but the defense was quite vulnerable in the second half and that’s an issue going forward. Much of the pressure in this game will be on cornerback Robert McClain, who may have to match up with Wallace. Sean Weatherspoon is perhaps the hardest hitting linebacker on the team.
Winner The Dolphins went on the road and controlled Andrew Luck and what was a high-powered offense a year ago. The Dolphins play defense with a lot of quickness and they appear to have a very good idea of what their opponents will do since they are rarely fooled. Keep your eye on outside linebacker Philip Wheeler, who had 12 tackles and 1.0 sacks against Indianapolis.
Special Teams
Winner The Falcons are capable of winning games on special teams. Matt Bryant is one of the most dependable placekickers in the league, while punter Matt Bosher has a huge leg. He averaged 53.0 yards per punt against the Rams. Harry Douglas has excellent speed and he has the ability to turn any game around with his punt return ability.
The Dolphins are going with Caleb Sturgis as their kicker, and he nailed a 53-yuard field goal against the Colts. Brandon Phillips does not have an exceptionally strong leg as a punter, but he does get good direction and can drop his punts inside the opponents’ 20 with regularity.

The Winner Is

Atlanta Falcons v Baltimore Ravens
Winner Atlanta Falcons
4 out of 4

This will be an easy game for the Falcons to overlook, so head coach Mike Smith has to make sure that his team is not thinking about the Patriots in Week Four. Miami is a good enough team to beat this legitimate NFC contender and look for the Dolphins to outlast the visitors if Tannehill is sharp.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 22:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons looks to pass against the Green Bay Packers during the first quarter in the NFC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome on January 22, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws a pass during the second half against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
    Super Bowl LI Tale Of The Tape: Atlanta Falcons vs. New England Patriots

    The Patriots and Falcons meet in Houston in a battle of the league’s number 1 scoring offense and number 1 scoring defense.

  2. KANSAS CITY, MP - JANUARY 15:  Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks to throw a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks to pass in the second half against the Houston Texans during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
    Conference Championship Tale: Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots

    The Steelers and Patriots meet in Foxboro for the right to go to Super Bowl LI in Houston.

  3. ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 15:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers drops back to pass during the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at AT&T Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 14:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons drops back to pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the game at the Georgia Dome on January 14, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Conference Championship Tale: Green Bay Packers at Atlanta Falcons

    Two MVP candidates at quarterback meet up in Atlanta for the right to go to Super Bowl LI in Houston.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Atlanta

Watch Dukes & Bell Live
Taz Goes Big With A New Daily Show!
Haunted Historical Sites In The South

Watch & Listen