Atlanta Falcons vs. Miami Dolphins
Date and Time: Thursday, August 10, 2017, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL
Preseason NFL Week 1 Opening Odds: Pick 'Em, O/U 36.5
Falcons vs. Dolphins TV Coverage: Local
With Tannehill out for the foreseeable future, it's clear that Matt Moore is going to take over as the starting quarterback in this game. The newly inked Jay Cutler won't be nearly ready to suit up at this point.
Moore isn't a bad option to have as a veteran backup; after all, he has been around since 2007 and has started 27 games in his career. That said, Adam Gase has already stated that he isn't going to be throwing Moore to the fire right away in the preseason. He knows that Moore can step right into the equation and play well enough in the regular season, and that likely prompt a lot of other options to get some looks under center.
That essentially leaves Brandon Doughty and David Fales left to battle it out to be Miami's backup for the time being. You'd like to think that Doughty and Fales are going to get the first crack at a backup job in this showdown with Atlanta.
Fales wasn't on a roster last year in the preseason, so he's a great unknown. Doughty, though, wasn't bad playing late in Dolphins exhibitions last year. He went 20-of-28 for 185 yards, and he didn't throw an interception.
Are either Matt Ryan or Matt Schaub going to play a lot in this one? Probably not. By halftime, both should probably already have baseball caps on while standing on the sidelines.
The big battle on the quarterback depth chart in Atlanta is going to come for the practice squad spot. Matt Simms isn't likely to ultimately have staying power, but he's going to get his reps for sure. Alek Torgersen was brought in as an undrafted rookie free agent. Not much has been said about him as of yet, and that's generally not a very good sign. Still, he'll play at least a quarter for Dan Quinn, if not a lot longer than that.
5 – The number of times Doughty was sacked in the preseason last year for the Dolphins.
Granted, that was Doughty's first look under center in the NFL, and it's natural for quarterbacks to hold the ball too long in a game that moves incredibly quickly. That said, it could be a foreshadowing of what's to come with Fales under center for the first time in Miami, too.
The Dolphins don't have a particularly deep offensive line, but they do have three undrafted rookies who are just fighting to get some tape and perhaps a shot on a roster somewhere. Once the starters are gone, this could get ugly for Doughty and Fales. Atlanta only had seven sacks in four preseason games last year, but this unit figures to be a lot more aggressive this season and could easily get five or six sacks in this one.
Falcons vs. Dolphins Free Picks
Playing unders in the NFL preseason is awfully trite, especially in games like this one. But with the threat of bad weather in Miami on Thursday night (60 percent chance of evening rain) parlayed with all of the question marks under center for both teams, the top 10 online sportsbooks are sure to be lowering the total in this one.
There are a total of 25 rookies who are on the depth charts of these two teams, most of which weren't drafted. The under is surely the right play.
Falcons vs. Dolphins ATS Pick: Under 36.5 at BookMaker.eu
Falcons vs. Dolphins Score Prediction: Dolphins 13, Falcons 10