It's officially Miami Dolphins game day! The Dolphins get back on the field tonight at 7pm Eastern Time, facing the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome. Facing the Falcons should be exactly the test the Dolphins need in their first preseason contest of the year, facing a team with very similar offensive stats from last year.
Miami struggled rushing the ball last year, averaging just 90.0-yards per game. Only six teams had fewer yards on the group per game in 2013, and the Falcons were one of them, coming in dead last in the league at 77.9 yards per contest. The Dolphins scored just 19.8 points per game in 2013, while the Falcons were less than a field goal more per contest at 22.1 points. Both offenses were in the top ten in sacks allowed last year as well, with Miami leading the league at 58 sacks over the season, while Atlanta was tenth at 44 sacks allowed. The Dolphins scored 24 passing touchdowns, compared to Atlanta's 26, with Miami throwing 19 interceptions, to Atlanta's 17. Miami was near the bottom of the league with just 8 rushing touchdowns, while the Falcons were not much better with just 11 ground scores.
The good news, for Dolphins fans at least, is that the similarities don't translate to defense. The Dolphins tallied 42 sacks in 2013, eleventh most in the league, while the Falcons had the second lowest total on the year, with just 32 sacks recorded. Miami was tenth in the league with 18 interceptions, whereas Atlanta had just 10, ranking them at 29 in a 32 team league.
The Dolphins were 21st overall in the league in yards allowed in 2013, with 5,750, or 359.4 yards per game, while the Falcons were 27th, with 6,070 total yards or 379.4 yards per contest. Miami allowed just 335 points in the season, the eighth fewest in the league, while Atlanta allowed 432, twenty-seventh in the NFL.
Both the Dolphins and Falcons are hoping 2014 has a happier ending to the year, as compared to last season. Miami collapsed over the final two weeks of the year, needing just one win to claim a playoff spot, but instead losing both games and missing out on their first postseason, and first winning season, since 2008. For Atlanta, 2013 was even worse, where the team finished 4-12 and claimed the sixth overall selection in the NFL Draft.
Dolphins at Falcons
Game time: 7pm ET
Location: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
TV channel: Miami - CBS4 (Do I get the game live?)
NFL Network Replay: Saturday, August 9, 10am ET
Radio Network: Miami - WBGG/105.9FM; WINZ/940AM; WQBA/1140AM (Spanish); Full Miami Dolphins Radio Network stations
Online streaming: NFL preseason live
TV Announcers: Miami - Dick Stockton, Bob Griese, Nat Moore, Kim Bokamper; Atlanta - Randy Waters, Dave Archer
Injury Report: The Dolphins have been bitten by the injury bug as of late. While the team has not released an official injury report, you can find our coverage of the preseason injuries for the Dolphins here.
Odds: Falcons by 3; O/U: 37
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Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a $100,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 1's NFL games. It's only $10 to join and first prize is $10,000. Starts Sunday, September 7th at 1pm ET. Here's the link.