NFL Preseason Week 3 Predictions: Atlanta Falcons vs. Miami Dolphins

Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins
Friday, 8/24/12, 7:30 PM EST, TV:  N/A
Opening Point Spread:  Atlanta -2.5
Current Betting Line:  Atlanta -3
Opening Total:  39.5
Current Total:  41.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Atlanta Falcons have covered their first preseason road game the last three years

Atlanta out-gained its first two preseason opponents, but it hasn’t shown up in the victory column, suffering home defeats to the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals.  The Falcons are definitely turning into a pass-first offense this year, which is a major difference in philosophy due to running back Michael Turner leading the NFL with 1,189 carries since the start of the 2008 campaign.

The Falcons are a disappointing 7-9-2 against the spread (ATS) under the direction of head coach Mike Smith, while also producing a dismal 7-15 straight-up record.  Total players will definitely notice that the squad has gone OVER the total in its first two exhibition affairs, as they’ve taken to the air in out-gaining opponents by 233 combined yards in the passing game.  Expect Turner to be used more in the passing game, as he set a career high with 17 catches for 168 yards last season.

Miami has settled on rookie Ryan Tannehill as its starting quarterback, which will place a major spotlight on the former Texas A&M star, while also placing plenty of pressure on first-year head coach Joe Philbin.  The Dolphins will need to do a better job of protecting their new offensive leader, as he was sacked three times and hit plenty more in last week’s 23-17 loss to the Carolina Panthers as three-point road underdogs.

The Dolphins stop unit appeared lethargic last week against the Panthers, which made things easy for last year’s Offensive Rookie of the Year Cam Newton, who threw for 119 yards in three offensive series.  Miami will need to create some type of pass rush in hopes of slowing down a potent offense in this particular matchup.  “We certainly aren’t pleased with the way we’ve played in the first two preseason games,” commented Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle.

Sports bettors will likely back the Falcons in this spot, as they’ve won their first preseason road game the last three years.

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