Falcons vs. Dolphins Odds, NFL Picks, Predictions: Back Dolphins As Week 7 Home Underdog?
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images. Pictured: Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
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Following a big win in London over the Jets and their bye week, the Atlanta Falcons will look to continue their momentum when they visit Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday to take on the Miami Dolphins.
The 2-3 Falcons staved off a fourth-quarter comeback attempt two weeks ago in London, while the Dolphins didn’t enjoy similar luck across the pond. A late field goal saw Miami fall and the Jaguars get their first win of the season.
Despite being on the road, the Falcons are slight 2.5-point favorites at most books in this matchup. Is Atlanta overvalued, or should we count on the Falcons to take care of business in Week 7?
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Falcons vs. Dolphins Injury Report
- OLB Dante Fowler Jr. (knee): Out
- CB Avery Williams (hamstring): Doubtful
- WR DeVante Parker (shoulder/hamstring): Questionable
- WR Preston Williams (groin): Questionable
- OL Greg Mancz (groin): Questionable
- CB Xavien Howard (shoulder/groin): Questionable
- CB Byron Jones (quad, Achilles): Questionable
- CB Noah Igbinoghene (knee): Questionable
- LB Jaelen Phillips (ankle): Questionable
Falcons vs. Dolphins Matchup
|Falcons Offense||DVOA Rank||Dolphins Defense|
|Falcons Defense||DVOA Rank||Dolphins Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Can Falcons, Matt Ryan Stay Hot?
Matt Ryan has put together back-to-back strong performances for the Falcons and quelled concerns of his demise for the time being. Over the last two weeks, he’s thrown for 625 passing yards with six passing touchdowns and no interceptions, all without top wide receiver Calvin Ridley.
While the numbers are strong, they didn’t come against quality opponents. One of those outings was a losing effort against a middling Washington Football Team, while the other was a one-score victory over the hapless Jets.
Miami’s 26th-ranked pass defense appears to be a good matchup for Ryan on paper, but that also might be a bit deceiving. The Dolphins have had matchups against high-octane offenses like the Bills, Buccaneers and Raiders — teams that can score quickly and in bunches. This version of the Falcons is not that kind of team.
Luckily for Ryan, Ridley is poised to make his return this week. Per PFF’s WR/CB Matchup tool, Ridley has a 78.9 matchup advantage against this Dolphins secondary, the seventh-best among all players projected to play in Week 7.
However, Ridley has yet to reach the elite level that many expected after Julio Jones was traded to Tennessee. He’s yet to eclipse more than 80 receiving yards in any of his four starts this season and has found the end zone just once.
Dolphins, Tua Tagovailoa Must Bounce Back
After returning last week following a rib injury that kept him out of the previous three weeks, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was impressive in his return, completing 70.2% of his passes for 329 passing yards, two touchdowns and an interception. While the Dolphins could not secure the victory, the passing acumen was encouraging.
Tagovailoa has a strong opportunity to build on that against a Falcons squad that has the 30th-ranked pass defense in 2021. He’ll also have close to a full range of weapons in his arsenal, with top receiver DeVante Parker likely returning following a two-week injury absence.
In his place, rookie Jaylen Waddle and tight end Mike Gesicki have proven to be capable weapons. Waddle has 12 catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns, while Gesicki corralled 12 catches for 158 yards over the last two weeks.
If they choose, the Dolphins should also be able to move the ball efficiently on the ground in this game. The Falcons currently rank 24th in run defense, which should help Miami control the clock and shorten the game if it gets ahead early.
NFL Picks: Falcons vs. Dolphins
While the Dolphins’ 1-5 record might not instill loads of confidence, the truth is that this team is substantially better than their record indicates. Three of their five losses came with Tagovailoa sidelined by injury, and another came last week on a last-second field goal.
Additionally, the Dolphins defense has also had tough draws thus far against three of the league’s top offenses, making their early season rankings very misleading. In a much more favorable matchup, I expect this unit to be able to settle in against a poor Atlanta team.
With an additional week to settle in following the injury, Tagovailoa should also have ample opportunity to continue the momentum built last week following his strong performance against the Jaguars.
I’m taking the points here on the home team as my primary play, but the Miami moneyline also warrants consideration as long as it remains at plus money.
Pick: Dolphins +2.5 | Bet to: Dolphins -1
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