Falcons-Dolphins Big Game Preview

Sweet Relief!!!!!!

The best time of year is finally upon us Ladies and Gentlemen: Atlanta Falcons Football is here again! We’re only hours away at this point from waking up early on Sunday, donning our Falcons attire, heading down to the Terror-Dome, and teeing it up with the Dolphins on opening weekend. Football season is at last upon us after suffering through the long winter, spring, and summer. In two simple words: sweet relief!

Great Matchups

The meeting between the Falcons and Dolphins brings two of the best up and coming teams to battle as both franchises made an unbelievably quick turnaround from dismal years in 2007. The two teams bring some similarities to the Terror-Dome on Sunday. Both teams are run-first, ball-control offenses that like to establish the run early and often, which paves the way for an extremely productive day in the passing game. Both teams limit mistakes as much as possible and play hard-nosed, disciplined football. Coach Smith and Coach Sparano, the Coach of the Year winner and runner-up respectively, get their teams prepared on a weekly basis. A look at the position-by-position match-ups:

Falcons Defense vs. Dolphins Offense

2008 Team Ranks

Atlanta: Rush Defense – 25th; Pass Defense – 21st; Total Defense – 24th

Miami: Rush Offense – 11th; Pass Offense – 10th; Total Offense – 12th

Falcons D-Tackles vs. Dolphins Interior OL

RDT – Peria Jerry/Trey Lewis vs LG – Justin Smiley

LDT – Jonathan Babineaux vs RG – Donald Thomas

Peria Jerry and Trey Lewis look to get a big dose of road-grading Smiley who started 12 games in a pretty prolific running offense last year paving the way ahead for Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, not to mention the threat of seeing the Wildcat formation with Pat White on occasion. Babineaux will be paired against Thomas, who only recorded one start for the ‘Fins last year. The new look D-Tackles look to get an early test.

Advantage – Birds

Falcons D-Ends vs. Dolphins Tackles

RDE – Jamaal Anderson/Chauncey Davis vs. LT – Jake Long

LDE – John Abraham/Kroy Biermann vs. RT – Vernon Carey

This will be where the defense makes or breaks in terms of pressure.  Jamaal Anderson, Chauncey Davis, or Lawrence Sidbury will get an early baptism to the start of the new season by running up against Pro-Bowler Jake Long. The number one overall draft pick from 2008, Long possesses a special blend of run power-driving and excellent pass blocking. Abraham will look to jumpstart a replication of his Pro-Bowl worthy year by scrapping with rock-solid Vernon Carey, who has started every game but two at right tackle the past four years. Biermann will be in quick rotation with Abe, and may even be starting at RDE.

Advantage – Fins

 

 

Falcons LBs vs. Dolphins TEs/FB/C

MLB – Curtis Lofton vs. C – Jake Grove

SLB – Stephen Nicholas vs. TE – Anthony Fasano

WLB – Mike Peterson vs. FB – Lousaka Polite/TE – David Martin

The Falcons will break in their brand new linebacker corps against a working-mans blocking and pass receiving group. Curtis Lofton should have a good match-up against Grove, who’s only started 14 games in the last two seasons. Fasano isn’t the flashiest tight ends, but is extremely productive and is one of Pennington’s favorite targets. Nicholas will have his work cut out for him in pass coverage. Peterson will have many double tight end looks and will have show better pass drops and mobility than preseason.

Advantage – Tie

Falcons Secondary vs. Dolphins Skill Players

CB – Chris Houston vs. WR – Ted Ginn Jr.

CB – Brent Grimes vs. WR – Davone Bess

Nickel – Chevis Jackson vs. Slot WR – Greg Camarillo

SS – Erik Coleman vs. RB – Ronnie Brown/Ricky Williams

FS – Thomas DeCoud vs. QB – Chad Pennington

The biggest issue of preseason finds itself not with the best receiving corps, but one of the most efficient. The incredibly poor play of the cornerbacks are matched up with quick and fast receivers who aren’t the best possession wideouts, but can catch the ball and burn. Grimes, Houston, and Jackson will have their hands full with Ginn Jr., Bess, and Camarillo working tons of underneath routes. Chad Pennington had one of the best comebacks of the year in 2008, throwing for over 3,600 yards, 19 TDS, and a 67% completion percentage. He may not possess the best arm, but Pennington is one of the best in the short and intermediate passing attack. When healthy, Ronnie Brown is one of the best running backs in the league. Brown possesses a rare combination of extreme speed and brute power. Coleman, DeCoud, will have to bring their A-Games to contain Brown and Ricky Williams. They will need all the help they can get from the defensive line and linebackers.

Advantage – Fins

Falcons Offense vs. Dolphins Defense

2008 Ranks

Atlanta: Rush Offense – 2; Pass Offense – 14; Total Offense – 6

Miami: Rush Defense – 10; Pass Defense – 25; Total Defense – 15

Falcons O-Line vs. Dolphins DL/ILBs

LT – Sam Baker vs. DE – Kendall Langford

LG – Justin Blaylock vs. ILB – Channing Crowder

C – Todd McClure vs. NT – Jason Ferguson

RG – Harvey Dahl – ILB – Akin Ayodele

RT – Tyson Clabo vs. DE – Randy Starks

Ferguson may not be a sack machine, but he does his job well of stuffing the middle and allowing the other playmakers to fly to the ball, but the vet McClure should be fine. Baker and Clabo won’t have the toughest opponents with their 2-gap defenders, but they will have to worry all day about the two best players on the defense, Joey Porter & Jason Taylor, moving, scheming, and speed blitzing. Harvey Dahl will be taking his nasty style to Adoyele, but Blalock will draw Crowder, who is one of the better young and tough inside linebackers in the league. Even though many 3-4 defenses can be susceptible to the run, the Fins ranked in the top third of the league in run defense last year.

Advantage – Birds

Falcons TE/FB vs. Dolphins Playmakers

TE – Tony Gonzalez vs. OLB – Joey Porter

FB – Ovie Mughelli vs. OLB – Jason Taylor

This one should be one of the most fun to watch on Sunday. Out of the four above, 3 have an excellent chance of getting enamored in Canton for the Hall of Fame. Watching new addition Gonzalez have to deal with Porter and Taylor’s quickness will be interesting to watch, just as much fun as watching them trying to defend TG in the passing game. Porter and Taylor will hope to causing Matt Ryan fits all day.

Advantage – Tie

Falcons Playmakers vs. Dolphins Secondary

WR – Roddy White vs. CB – Will Allen

WR – Michael Jenkins vs. CB – Sean Smith

Slot – Brian Finneran vs. Nickel – Vontae Davis

RB – Michael Turner/Jerious Norwood vs. SS – Yeremiah Bell

QB – Matt Ryan vs. FS – Gibril Wilson

TunAlthough the Dolphins were pretty bad defending the pass last year, they made concerted efforts to correct that area in the off-season by drafting corners Vontae Davis and Sean Smith, as well as adding Gibril Wilson at free safety. They will get a big test from the Falcons firepower with Will Allen matching up against Pro-Bowler Roddy White and rookie Sean Smith drawing Michael Jenkins. Smith’s height may help him with Jenkins. Yeremiah Bell is one of the more underrated strong safeties in the NFL, collaring 120 tackles. They’ll need a good collective effort to stop an offense featuring three Pro-Bowlers and the Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Advantage – Birds

There you have it Bird Cagers, all the match-ups you should see on Sunday around 1 pm in the Terror-Dome. If you’re heading down to the game, get up and get your juices revved and ready to go. This one looks to be an extremely hard-nosed, tough-fought contest between two well-coached teams. Our Falcons will need all the help they can get from the 12th man, so make it intolerably loud for the visiting Dolphins and send them home with an opening loss!

-What’s your thoughts on the match-ups?

-Which ones do the Falcons have an advantage in?

-Which ones do the Dolphins look better with?

Your Turn……………….go through each set of match-ups and give your own prediction.

GO FALCONS!!!!!!!

568 comments Add your comment

Stirg d'Nahsif

September 10th, 2009
11:33 pm

Sarah B

September 10th, 2009
11:34 pm

Well well well, again I’m here. And I wonder why I never go to bed b4 12:00.

Can’t wait for Sunday.

Sarah B

September 10th, 2009
11:39 pm

Ahhh Sierra Leone – Now I see I love the internet. Glad to see you embrace your past Stirg.

I put that on both blogs Stirg.

Sarah B

September 10th, 2009
11:42 pm

Aaaand we have overtime.

dean21

September 10th, 2009
11:43 pm

Almost game time!!!

boxcarar

September 10th, 2009
11:44 pm

D3,
You continue to spoil us with the quality of your postings.
All,
I hope our receivers were watching Hines not securing the ball. Talk about a bad feeling. I hope that none of our games come down to something like that.

Stirg d'Nahsif

September 10th, 2009
11:45 pm

That’s what I’m talking ’bout…

Sarah B., the Gullah populated the east coast from Georgia to South Carolina and the Sea Islands. Group of people that maintained most of its heritage, customs and beliefs during and after the diaspora. Long story but interesting knowledge.

Sarah B

September 10th, 2009
11:52 pm

Stirg I’m a history and geography buff. I love looking that sort of stuff up. There is a good friend of mine Willie Stroud, yes, cousin of Marcus Stroud of the Bills, that a few years ago I mentioned the Detroit race riots and he had no idea when we looked it up, he was shocked. And I remember it first hand as a small child. I guess it’s one of the main reasons I have never seen color just people. People are people in my book!

Sarah B

September 10th, 2009
11:53 pm

Off topic but we are the only ones here so whatever.

boxcarar

September 10th, 2009
11:57 pm

I wish that the NFL would adopt a better overtime plan than sudden death. So biased with who wins the coin toss. I think that it’s something like over 65% with winning the toss.
We’re getting close to game time. I hope that my game prediction is accurate. Go Birds.

Stirg d'Nahsif

September 10th, 2009
11:58 pm

Right, “whatever”. I remember learning about the Detroit riots, just two years ago, too. I was amazed; not amazed of the riots but amazed that the history was not taught to me. It was really amazing to learn what truly happened that night (the blind pig).

Can the Falcons begin the recruitment for D. Morgan and that safety (number 1; can’t remember his name off hand).

boxcarar

September 11th, 2009
12:01 am

Sarah,
You nare discussing the Cage FFL topic, if indirectly, so it’s all good. I also enjoy some history and like to see people that don’t let it fade from their own family memory.

Sarah B

September 11th, 2009
12:07 am

Amazing they don’t teach that in school. I lived it!

Sarah B

September 11th, 2009
12:08 am

Ignoring it does not make go away.

Sarah B

September 11th, 2009
12:10 am

I’m winding down, time 4 bed.

Stirg d'Nahsif

September 11th, 2009
12:19 am

In a minute, Sarah B.

Sarah B

September 11th, 2009
12:19 am

And Stirg “Every little thing gonna be all right”

Stirg d'Nahsif

September 11th, 2009
12:22 am

Don’t worry, ’bout a thing!

Stirg d'Nahsif

September 11th, 2009
12:22 am

(spelling correction): “ting”!

Sarah B

September 11th, 2009
12:26 am

yes “ting” God I would love to go to Jamacia right now and lay on the beach with a cocktail!!!

Shawnsection341

September 11th, 2009
12:50 am

I’ve bet evoryone from liquor store guys to the barber I bet at the bar $20 Falcons win. If you want to bet I got you too.
Matt Ryan is the Truth
In Dimitroff and Smith We Trust
Go Falcons
a baised season ticket holder
Falcons -4

Sarah B

September 11th, 2009
12:59 am

Shawnsection341 – you sit right next to me… lets be loud Sunday!!!!

Sarah B

September 11th, 2009
1:02 am

Ed

September 11th, 2009
4:04 am

Great work D3. I always say if the game is close go with the team that has the best player. Nuff said…

dean21

September 11th, 2009
4:34 am

Ed, you must work 3rd shift as well..seems we are the only ones posting in the early morning hours…lol

D3, keep doing it man…you never know, you could be working for the NFL network one day like another former AJC sports writer.

Sarah B…don’t you drop no alcoholic beverages on my head as you are bringing it up top…Although, I’m underneath the seats, but I will be bringing it…now I’vev tried to get info from you on the tailgating, but my post get’s lost in the shuffle during the early mornings, so I will try you again this afternoon.

As a new season ticket holder, certain information is needed, so I’m asking the veteran season ticket holders on where the real tailgating is at? I’ve heard some real positive things on the tailgating near the dome. I mean most folks say it’s like a party atmosphere! Hopefully, I can find D3’s party area!!!

Folks, I’m sure most of you saw the game last night or may have heard the score..these were two good even teams with good offenses who basically struggled often on offense…although both defenses came to play!

Let’s see if our offense can crank it early & often! I hope Matty Ice goes over the top for the first place when the Birds get the ball…and I’m hoping it’s the same success we had on that first place against the Lions…

GO FALCONS!!!!! MIAMI!!! WELCOME TO THE TERROR DOME!!! whoo whoo whooo!

dean21

September 11th, 2009
4:35 am

CBrass…you headed to the dome on Sunday? If so, what section are you representing?

dean21

September 11th, 2009
4:41 am

Correction: early morning typos…trying again

Ed, you must work 3rd shift as well..seems we are the only ones posting in the early morning hours…lol

D3, keep doing it man…you never know, you could be working for NFL Network one day like another former AJC sports writer.

Sarah B…don’t you drop no alcoholic beverages on my head as you are bringing it up top…….Although, I’m underneath the seats, but I will be bringing it… I’ve tried to get info from you on the tailgating, but my post seems to get lost in the shuffle during the early mornings, so I will try you again this afternoon.

As a new season ticket holder, certain information is requested, so I’m asking the veteran season ticket holders on where the real tailgating is? I’ve heard some real positive things on the tailgating near the dome. I mean most folks say it’s like a party atmosphere! Hopefully, I can find D3’s party area!!!

I’m sure most of you saw the game last night or may have heard the score..these were two good even teams with good offenses who basically struggled often on offense…although both defenses came to play!

Let’s see if our offense can crank it early & often! I hope Matty Ice goes over the top for the first play of the game when the Birds get the ball…and I’m hoping it’s with the same success we had on that first play against the Lions…

GO FALCONS!!!!! MIAMI!!! WELCOME TO THE TERROR DOME!!! whoo whoo whooo!

JJ

September 11th, 2009
7:03 am

Morning ‘Cagers,

As a rook, I had no idea what to expect during games. I turn on the live fantasy cast last night and BOOM, I’m hooked. How did I go so many years with out playing? For those that are green like me (CBrass), they have all of the matches up with their starters, stats, points and little pics of each player. Last night I was watching Stirg/SW. As Stirgs’ polamalu got that one handed INT, 5 points go up on his scoreboard. I guess that Madden curse is alive and well, sorry Stirg. I can see now that a blackberry is in my future! Cannot wait until sunday to see the falcons and all the side games in FF.

WR, congrats a win is a win.

D3, Great article but its time to put our game face on. I know our battle will come down to monday night. Rivers is going to have a field day against Oakland as long as he stays away from that one corner.

falcon21, I recommended Bitches to Sarah B. Has nothing to do with her (she’s an angel) but what could be scarier than 11 screaming, hormonal, menstral women racing down the field!!! lol- j/k ladies!

TGIF ;)

WR

September 11th, 2009
8:44 am

The weekend is upon us and after a night of unbelievably bad football by GT the Jackets did escape with a win. I ran many post that believed Tech was killing Clemson in the beginning that is so untrue. Except for a botched quick kick but the tigers that led to a GT touchdown, a fake field goal by GT that led to a touchdown, and a busted play on defense that led to a touchdown the Jackets didn’t really look that good, especially offensively. Defensively D.Morgan is a beast, I hope Jamaal Andersen was watching, better yet it would have been nice for him to be there to see a true defensive end at work. But as JJ said, a win is a win, and the Clemson, GT game is always close, every game in the last fourteen meetings has been decided by less then 5 points, alright enough of Tech for the bird cage.

On to bigger and better things like the Birds this sunday and FFL. First off I was accused of being a hater last night, funny how everyone is talking a little smack here and there but somehow I’m a hater. I’m guessing if you didn’t pick the Falcons to go 16-0 your a hater too.

Just so the cage knows and understand my motivation I want to let you all in on a little secret, myself and JJ are supposedly haters, now is it coincidence that I as well as JJ turned down Mr. Millen for a trade and all of a sudden we were put on the garbage list because we used a little football knowledge to understand that the purposed trade wouldn’t work for us.

As an example I was told after turning down the trade offer “WR your old news, I made an offer you turned down the offer so why should I be bothered with you”, it could be me but anything can happen in football, players get hurt, players exceed or preform less then expectations which makes trades possible in the first place, if a person doesn’t understand that I have no problem referencing Matt Millen because look where it got him and Detroit. If thats hating and a motivator, so be it, but I see someone observing me holding that inaugural Bird Cage FFL trophy as being the biggest motivator.

John Waynesworld

September 11th, 2009
8:54 am

It doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, WR.

WR

September 11th, 2009
9:05 am

D3, nice read on the new post as always, if you see any 63 chevys rolling up on your house very slowly watchout, D-Led could be on the lookout for you at the rate your going.

Beyond the individuals who will have the pleasure of catching the game in person, anyone planning on busting out the grill and some stripes for the season opener. It should be a good one and I’m looking forward to catching the birds with a nice slab of ribs and some happy juice.

Sarah B

September 11th, 2009
9:06 am

I never said you were a hater WR – just a smack talker as I’m I. Oh and I wasn’t watching the GT game just the score on the computer.

WR

September 11th, 2009
9:13 am

JohnWaynesWorld, it is alot of fun, its like running your own team, you have to make trades to improve your team, you have to use certain stratgies depending on how things are shaping up week in and week out, and you do have the smack talk. For all I know my team could go winless for the season but its just the fun of the back in forth with people such as members of the bird cage, friends, and even associates at work. Kind of like putting yourself in control of a team, you could cut a player that turns out to be a big time preformer, you can draft a play a player that leaves everyone wondering what your thinking until the guy has the ultimate year, like Turner last year. Sometimes things back fire, say a player that your depending on heavily like an Adrian Peterson blows out a knee, is your season over, or do you make the moves that gives your team a chance, its rather exciting to me, but its not for everyone.

John Waynesworld

September 11th, 2009
9:16 am

You didn’t miss much, Sarah, just an ugly offensive performance sandwiched in between a few big plays. GT’s quarterback throws the football like he is shot putting a yule log.

WR

September 11th, 2009
9:18 am

Ah Sarah, I wouldn’t put you in that boat, you have been one that has really made this an exciting upcoming fantasy season, that GT game was an emotional rollercoaster, but its always fun to go back to a college game, the excitement and Atlanta skyline as a backdrop is truly a great experience. But trust me when I say I was going to be sick as Seminole said last night, to go up 24-0 and lose would have devastated the team, but it all worked out.

Sarah B

September 11th, 2009
9:28 am

Man in my work league Tenn. D put up 20 points to Pitts. 14.

SeminoleWarrior

September 11th, 2009
9:34 am

Good morning Cage,

Is it Sunday yet? 209 should be ready to rock baby!! I have a feeling we too are going to have a darn good game this weekend at the Dome.

Stirg (Coach Belichick), sorry about your man Polamalu. I hope he is okay. Our rivalry is going to be a good one friend…

WR, looks like the ACC is the trying to be the conference of offense and on/of switch defense. What a statement by Clemson…it’s going to be a dog fight in the ACC all year.

Sarah, I’m going to have to work my way over to 342 and say hi to my favorite late night, cocktail desiring, Barber twin loving lady. Given the roll from Tallahassee to ATL on Sunday morn, I do not think there will be much in the way of Gulch activity this week as I will probably arrive in time to hit MARTA, roll north, and get inside.

JJ, I feel ya. I too may have to give up the conventional and make the move to a Blackberry or Palm Pre. How’s the player?

Another great topic by my man D3? How in the hell does he maintain his sanity? Great balance my brother…you are the man!!

Falcon 21, in regards to your point about team names, I’m not a native American (Indian) in any way that I am aware of. But as a man of color and a descendent of slaves, I am forever indebted to the Seminole Nation. I could go into greater detail about it here but I will defer since this is a fan/football blog. But history (I love it too, SarahB)indicates that the African American experience had a true ally in the Seminole Nation. Thus my love for the African American experience and all things Seminole. In the the nickname Seminole Warrior, I pay homage to the generations of the my fam that have served this nation in its armed forces as well as the Seminoles that saw my ancestors are equal men/women who deserved to live in peace and freedom. I could go on and on but I will respect my fellow Cagers. The history is out there for all to review.

It would be wise if most Americans took time to REVIEW and APPRECIATE the POWER of history. For those that do not understand it are destined to repeat it.

Sorry, I got off beat but just wanted to provide that little nugget for my brother. With that complete, GAME ON!!!

SeminoleWarrior

September 11th, 2009
9:42 am

WR, what’s up with the AP knee reference bro? Sending out hit squads on my running back? JJ, I may need the player as security. LOL.

SeminoleWarrior

September 11th, 2009
9:43 am

Whats Up Cage Fam…

SarahB, have you and CBrass cooled off from last night? Fellows, I thought I was going to have to break out a fire hose on them last night. Barber twins, Gonzo, who am I missing Sarah?

Sarah B

September 11th, 2009
9:46 am

APete & Reggie Bush…

Sarah B

September 11th, 2009
9:47 am

Oh and P Kerney.

Sarah B

September 11th, 2009
9:48 am

Can’t help it SW it’s finally football season!!!

WR

September 11th, 2009
9:52 am

Actually Seminole, I need a good year out of AP, if he performs up to expectations its going to make my sleeper Harvin look good. Kind you imagine the damage Harvin can do with teams focusing so much attention on AP.

Oh no, has Sarah gotten CBrass in on the hot flashes, I noticed that this morning, they even through in some bush, that is Reggie Bush. The October comeback was nice though Seminole.

WR

September 11th, 2009
9:52 am

kind should be can

SeminoleWarrior

September 11th, 2009
9:55 am

WR, I had to do it man. They were like little schoo girls in the hallways last night. The heat could have been secured for the winter..LOL.

Luv ya ladies…

And October….ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, October.

CBrass

September 11th, 2009
10:18 am

dean21,

Not sure if I’m going to make it Sunday or not. The family is suppose to be coming up to celebrate my bday on Sunday.

SW,

Yea I’m cooled off…LOL Now I’m just getting ready for tomorrow.

Lil'Dave

September 11th, 2009
10:32 am

Morning Bird Cage! Sunday is just right around to corner and the Red Stripe is already in the fridge getting cold!

Sunday is going to be a great game with two teams on the rise. I’m going to Miami next Friday to see my sister who’s lived there her whole life. I need to arrive at Miami International Airport with some bragging rights…GT and Miami play the day before I land so it could be a double wammey! Even though I’m a Georgia fan I’ll still bust some balls while I’m down there…you know like a normal Georgia fan.

But back to the Falcons. I feel special teams play is going to be very important. Because the Fin’s will try to milk the clock as much as they can to keep our offense off the field as much as possible. But besides field position and pass rush is a must! JA98# if your reading this it’s time to lace’em up and EARN THAT PAYCHECK! And but the end of the year I bet Sarah will replace her Patrick Kerney poster with a Kroy Berimann poster and bobble head.

D3 – Another great article.. If we ever get to meet up at the dome or anything I’ll defiantly buy you a beer. It’s well deserved. Great Job!

O ya one last thing…Next year that FFL trophey will be mine. (I missed the sign up sheet this year..sigh) So JJ, Sarah, Stig, D3 and whoever I missed don’t forget to never dull my trophey cause I want it shinny for next year. ;)

Lil'Dave

September 11th, 2009
10:35 am

Here’s a little yahoo article, I ment to slap in my post….

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090911/ap_on_sp_fo_ne/fbn_falcons_run_d

SeminoleWarrior

September 11th, 2009
10:42 am

How may times am I going to have to say it people. D3 will be presenting the trophy to the Posse…

Lil'Dave

September 11th, 2009
10:46 am

You mean to the whole group of people playing FFL?