Friday, September 20, 2013
W2W4: Falcons at Dolphins
By James Walker
The undefeated Miami Dolphins are looking for a 3-0 start to the 2013 season. They will host the talented Atlanta Falcons (1-1) at Sun Life Stadium.
Kickoff is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. ET. Here are three things to watch from the Dolphins' perspective:
1. Home-field advantage: This is the first home game of the regular season for Miami and its first attempt to establish a home-field advantage. The Dolphins are one of the NFL’s worst home teams in recent years for various reasons, including a 10-14 home record since 2010. Miami is a fast-moving city with plenty of entertainment options, and the Dolphins have had trouble convincing fans to spend money to fill Sun Life Stadium. Sunday could mark the beginning of change and establishing an identity at home thanks to a 2-0 start. However, the Dolphins must continue to win at home.
2. Matt Ryan up next: Each week, the Dolphins seem to face an increasingly tougher quarterback. After beating Brandon Weeden and Andrew Luck in the first two weeks, Miami’s defense now must face the Falcons' Pro Bowl quarterback. Atlanta has a dangerous group of offensive skill players, which include future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez and receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White. The Dolphins’ secondary certainly has their hands full. Miami is ranked 20th against the pass, but its on-field play is better than the early numbers. The Dolphins are only allowing 16.5 points per game and rattling quarterbacks with 4.5 sacks per game. Expect Miami’s pass rush to play a larger role in its attempt to slow the Falcons’ high-powered passing attack.
3. Overcoming injuries: The Dolphins have been fortunate with injuries in the first two games. However, Miami has to overcome several ailments in Week 3. Starting defensive tackle Paul Soliai (knee) and cornerback Dimitri Patterson (groin) were ruled out for Sunday's game. That means backups like corner Nolan Carroll and defensive tackle Randy Starks will have bigger roles this week and must step up their games. Other players like Chris Clemons (hamstring) and linebacker Koa Misi (knee) are also listed as questionable.