Falcons are slight road favorite against reeling Dolphins
ATLANTA (2-3) at MIAMI (1-5)
Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT, Fox
OPENING LINE: Atlanta by 2 1/2, according to FanDuel SportsBook.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Atlanta 2-3; Miami 2-4.
SERIES RECORD: Dolphins lead 9-4.
LAST MEETING: Dolphins beat Falcons 20-17 on Oct. 16, 2017 in Atlanta.
LAST WEEK: Dolphins lost to Jacksonville 23-20 in London; Falcons had bye, beat Jets 27-20 on Oct. 10 in London.
FALCONS OFFENSE: OVERALL (20), RUSH (24), PASS (12), SCORING (T-22).
FALCONS DEFENSE: OVERALL (13), RUSH (12), PASS (14), SCORING (31).
DOLPHINS OFFENSE: OVERALL (30), RUSH (32), PASS (28), SCORING (29).
DOLPHINS DEFENSE: OVERALL (30), RUSH (22), PASS (29), SCORING (T-29).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Falcons minus-3; Dolphins minus-2.
FALCONS PLAYER TO WATCH: TE Kyle Pitts. The rookie out of Florida was someone the Dolphins were considering at this year’s draft, and it’s easy to see why. Pitts is coming off his best game of his young NFL career for Atlanta, with nine catches for 119 yards and his first touchdown in the win over the Jets.
DOLPHINS PLAYER TO WATCH: WR Mack Hollins. Among the few bright spots for Miami so far this season, Hollins is coming off a four-catch, 61-yard game against the Jaguars. He’s also been among the Dolphins’ top performers on special teams.
KEY MATCHUP: Atlanta’s run game vs. Miami’s defensive front. The Falcons are rushing for only 91 yards a game. If that improves Sunday and softens the Dolphins’ defense against Atlanta QB Matt Ryan, that’s a big problem for Miami.
KEY INJURIES: The Dolphins have plenty of concerns, including the status of CBs Xavien Howard (shoulder, groin) and Byron Jones (Achilles tendon, groin). WR DeVante Parker (shoulder, hamstring) and LB Jaelan Phillips (ankle) are also ailing. The Falcons are expected to get a slew of players back, including DT Marlon Davidson (ankle), WR Russell Gage (ankle), and CB Fabian Moreau (neck). RT Kaleb McGary (COVID-19 reserve list) missed time this week, and CB Avery Williams (hamstring) is still limited.
SERIES NOTES: It’s the 14th meeting between the teams and the ninth to be hosted by the Dolphins. ... Miami is 9-0 when it scores at least 20 points against Atlanta, 0-4 otherwise. ... Of the 13 previous matchups, nine were decided by a touchdown or less. ... No team has been shut out — or even held out of the end zone — in any Falcons-Dolphins matchup. ... Average score of the previous Miami-Atlanta games: Dolphins 21, Falcons 18.
STATS AND STUFF: The Falcons have a two-game winning streak over New York (Week 3 win over the Giants, Week 5 win over the Jets) and an eight-game losing streak going back to last season against teams from all other cities. ... Atlanta is playing road games at all three Florida teams this season. The Falcons have already lost at division rival Tampa Bay, now visit Miami and go to Jacksonville on Nov. 28. ... Ryan beat the Dolphins in Week 1 of the 2009 season. Atlanta has had two other starters at QB since, for a combined total of three games. ... Dolphins WR Jaylen Waddle has 37 receptions in his first six career games. That matches the sixth most by any NFL rookie since 1970 and is by far the most for any Miami rookie in the first six games of a career; Troy Stradford (1987) and Terry Kirby (1993) each had 25. ... The Dolphins have cycled through 11 starting QBs in that span and of those, only Tua Tagovailoa (7-5) has a winning record for Miami.
FANTASY TIP: If you have Pitts and aren’t playing him, especially this week, you probably need to fire yourself as your team’s fantasy GM.
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