It has been an impressive start for Joe Philbin and his Miami Dolphins. On the road, they have started 2-0, with wins over the Cleveland Browns, and the Indianapolis Colts. The offense has come out on all cylinders, leading the AFC East with 47 points over the first two games, and the Dolphins have really been on point.
Well, in today’s home opener, we will really get a benchmark as to how far the Dolphins have come along in 2013. Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons come into town, sporting a 1-1 record. Atlanta is coming off of a 31-24 victory over the St. Louis Rams last week.
The Dolphins are catching a big break, as Steven Jackson has been ruled out for Sunday with a hamstring injury. That will take a big toll on the running game for the Falcons. Roddy White and Julio Jones were all limited in practice this week and listed as questionable. If they can’t go it will be a big break.
The running game will be in the hands of Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling, both capable running backs that the Dolphins would be wise to keep their eyes on. The Dolphins’ rush defense has had some very deceptive numbers, as they have allowed 180 yards over the first two games, keeping them just outside the top ten. But they have allowed 4.6 yards per carry, which leads one to believe that the yardage is low because the Miami opponents have been playing from behind.
The Falcons can run the football. The Dolphins must stop the run in this one, otherwise, those weapons on the outside will be too much for Miami. Even if Roddy White and Julio Jones are limited, Tony Gonzales and Harry Douglas are no slouches either. This will truly be a huge test for the Miami Dolphins.
This game could be a coming out party for the Dolphins’ passing offense. The Falcons have given up the 3rd most yardage through the air in the NFL, allowing 693 yards, and the passer rating against the Falcons’ defense is 97.9. Miami has a 94.2 passer rating on offense, and they should have the chance to raise that up today.
The Falcons only allow 73.5 yards per game against the run. It has the potential to be a tough go for Lamar Miller and company on the ground. The Dolphins are going to have to use a little of that run game to keep the passing lanes open, because the Falcons’ pass rush will tee off on Ryan Tannehill if they don’t.
This will truly be a benchmark for the Miami Dolphins. Are they really ready to challenge for the AFC East? Or are they just off to a hot start, ready to be brought back down to Earth by a Falcons’ team that is more talented than they are? This we will find out in just a few hours.