The Dolphins will do their best to stop the high powered passing attack of the Atlanta Falcons this weekend at Sun Life Stadium in south Florida. Since the Dolphins themselves seem to be one of the teams that are passing to set up the run, this could be a high scoring affair that could also shelve runners like Lamar Miller and Steven Jackson for most of the game.
You could make an argument that the Dolphins defensive line is going to give Matt Ryan and Jackson all it can handle on Sunday and the vertical passing game may be the best chance the visiting team has of reaching the end zone.
As we have learned from this season and season’s past, once Ryan gets going, it is hard to stop him and contain four receivers (including Tony Gonzalez) and a running game that is not only powerful but sleak as well.
Maybe the Dolphins are the perfect cure to finding the blueprint to stopping one of the three best offenses in the NFL. It will be a tough task, but they can do it.
Here are four keys to a Dolphins win this weekend.
Throw the ball on first down
While the Dolphins have a decent stable of runners, open the game by throwing the ball. This will keep the secondary honest. Throw at Desmond Trufant and see what happens when the rookie has to cover Mike Wallace or Brian Hartline one on one.
Also, make the tight end Charles Clay a huge part of the passing game across the middle. His size in this case is a mismatch for a linebacker. The best way to beat a Mike Smith defense is to confuse it early on.
Blitz inside, not out
While Cameron Wake, Dion Jordan and company will get plenty of pressure from the outside, use the defensive tackles to try and pressure Matt Ryan. He is a good athlete, but flushing him from the pocket creates all kinds of mismatches and will allow the defensive ends to get to him for the sack.
Run right at the defensive line
With the loss of Croy Biermann to an Achilles injury, the defense is weaker. While Peria Jerry and the front line may be tough, I still think running right at them will set them off balance.
According to Smith, Biermann will be going on reserve injured. He has a torn Achilles tendon.
With Biermann out against the Rams, defensive ends Jonathan Massaquoi and Malliciah Goodman played more snaps. They are not usual starters and will be new to the starting unit and maybe play a little out of sync.
Manage the clock
Ryan and his offense move the ball quickly. The Dolphins must keep the ball for sustainable drives and keep the Falcons quarterback off the field. Also, if Roddy White is only going to be a decoy in this offense, then make him pay for being out there and find a way to double team Julio Jones without destroying your secondary.
Rely on Brent Grimes and his knowledge of this team to help the Fins win the battle of the secondary vs. the outside speed.