Falcons Visit Revamped Dolphins as NFL Preseason Underdogs
Ryan Tannehill’s injury was initially perceived as a tragedy by most Dolphins followers. But a sudden announcement made a few hours later have football fans re-checking Miami’s odds to win Super Bowl LII. Former Chicago Bears’ QB Jay Cutler was supposed to be preparing for his new career as a Fox NFL analyst this week. Instead, he could make his Miami Dolphins debut if the team chooses to play Cutler in its first preseason game against the defending NFC champion, the Atlanta Falcons.
Falcons vs Dolphins 2017 Week 1 NFL Preseason Odds & Game Info
When: Thursday, Aug. 10, 7 PM ET
Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami
TV: Local stations only
Stream Option: NFL Live
Opening NFL Lines: Pick’em (37)
Embrace The Suck
The Falcons of course choked away last season’s Super Bowl, blowing a 28-3 third-quarter lead to the Patriots and losing the first overtime Super Bowl ever. Coach Dan Quinn now gets to see his team on the field against an opponent for the first time since. Quinn’s Motto for this year? “Embrace the Suck.”
Time to Move On
Every Falcon who’s spoken publicly about the Super Bowl loss has put on a brave face, but come on … how do you recover from something as devastating as this? The only way out of this nightmare, for the Falcons, is to get back to the Super Bowl … and win it this time.
Quinn, who was the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator before coming to Atlanta, aimed to fix his team’s defense in this off season and the team’s 2017 draft was a reflection of those plans.
UCLA pass rusher Takkarist McKinley was the Falcons’ first-round pick and they grabbed LSU linebacker Duke Riley with their next selection in Round 3. The team also signed defensive lineman Dontari Poe during free agency, the Chiefs’ former first-round pick.
“It wasn’t about one play,” Quinn said of the Super Bowl loss. “Those (defensive series) are the ones I evaluated over and over. When you go back and sit through it over and over, you know, ‘I damn sure can’t get a do-over. But I can learn from it.’ I won’t apologize for how aggressive we play and our style and attitude of where we’re headed. But I have learned from that experience.”
With McKinley expected to sit out Thursday, the most exciting new Falcon on the field will probably be third-rounder Riley.
Riley played with Deion Jones at LSU and he’s projected to start as the team’s weak-side linebacker during the season. In this particular match up, Riley will probably also see a lot of time at the Mike position when Jones comes off the field, though.
Collins’ Suspension Doesn’t Start Yet
Falcons corner back Jalen Collins has been suspended for the first 10 games of the 2017 season for PED use. Collins, who was also suspended in 2016 for four games (also for PED use), was a second-round draft pick out of LSU in 2015. Once his suspension is up, Collins will have missed 18 games in the past two years.
Quinn said Collins will get some preseason run since he won’t be suspended until the regular season, and that the team has no immediate plans to release Collins. In all likelihood, they’ll take a look at him in preseason, see how things stand when he returns from suspension, and then make a decision.
Robert Alford, Desmond Trufant and Brian Poole are locked in as starters, but this game will be a great opportunity for one of Atlanta’s backup corners to make a name for themselves in Collins’ place.
Will Cutler Play?
Of course the Falcons signed former Bears QB Jay Cutler to a one-year, $10 million to replace injured starter Ryan Tannehill, who could miss the season. Will Cutler already be allowed to play in an exhibition game even though he has to be a bit out of shape and doesn’t know the playbook? The team does need to get him reps, but you can’t risk injury.
Cutler previously worked with coach Adam Gase when he was the offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears. In his career, Cutler has won three of four meetings with the Falcons, the most recent being in 2014. We have our answer: Cutler won’t play, according to Gase. “He didn’t come out of retirement to stand on the sideline, but he’s got a ways to go,” Gase said. “He needs to come in here, take a physical and see where he’s at.”
Gase is confident he is getting the same version of Cutler he had two years ago in Chicago. In 2015, Cutler had one of the best years of his career under Gase, throwing for 3,659 yards, 24 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
- Falcons are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 road games.
- Falcons are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 Thursday games.
- Dolphins are 6-13 ATS in their last 19 home games.
Not sure you will see reigning NFL MVP Matt Ryan, either, but I’d still lean Atlanta.