Falcons vs Dolphins: Week 2 NFL preseason preview

The Miami Dolphins battle the Atlanta Falcons in NFL preseason Week 2, a matchup of teams with plenty of young talent on the rise. On a night that features Tua Tagovailoa, Matt Ryan, Kyle Pitts and many others, our Falcons vs Dolphins preview dives into the matchups and game info to know.

Falcons vs Dolphins: What you need to know:

  • The Dolphins host the Falcons at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday, August 21 at 7:00 p.m. EST on FOX 5 and CBS4.
  • Sportsnaut forecasts the Dolphins secure victory over the Falcons, 21-17
  • Odds: The Dolphins are 3-point favorites over the Falcons with the over/under at 37 points.

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Let’s dive into the key positional matchups for the Falcons vs Dolphins contest.

Kyle Pitts vs. Dolphins’ linebackers

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Atlanta Falcons
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

If you want to know Atlanta’s level of confidence in Pitts, consider he sat out Week 1 because the coaching staff believes he didn’t need it. But they won’t hold the rookie out for the entire preseason, making a Week 2 debut likely. It means we’ll get to witness the 6-foot-6 athletic marvel against an excellent defense.

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  • Talent over Need: The Falcons might have been better off drafting a quarterback at No. 4 or trading down, but this front office wanted a game-changing weapon. Pitts is a tight end like we haven’t seen out of the NFL Draft in years. After sitting out the preseason opener, he should debut against Miami.
  • New Duo: While Miami’s defense was excellent this past season, Brian Flores made some changes in the spring. The Dolphins acquired Benardrick McKinney and will pair him alongside Jerome Baker. In this matchup against Pitts, Baker can put his coverage ability on full display.

Advantage: Kyle Pitts

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Falcons’ defense vs Tua Tagovailoa

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Chicago Bears
Eileen T. Meslar-USA TODAY Sports

In his preseason debut, Tagovailoa showed a lot of things that are cause for excitement. The second-year quarterback displayed poise, outstanding accuracy and made throws to all levels of the field. He could be even better in this Dolphins vs Falcons battle.

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  • Tua Time: Tagovailoa only made one mistake against the Chicago Bears, a terrible read that resulted in a red-zone interception. Outside of that, he completed 80% of his passes for 99 yards. With a few more receivers available in Week 2 and more snaps, he can do more.
  • Cooked Bird: If an NFL team doesn’t have reliable cornerbacks, it needs a strong pass rush to cause any trouble for opposing quarterbacks. A.J. Terrell (109.2 passer rating in coverage as a rookie) is the No. 1 cornerback and Dante Fowler (30 total pressures in 383 pass-rush snaps) is the top edge rusher. That’s a recipe for this defense being torched every game.

Advantage: Tua Tagovailoa

Jalen Mayfield vs Jaelan Phillips

NFL: Atlanta Falcons Rookie Minicamp
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

One of the best parts of the NFL preseason is seeing rookies, who were once the top players in college football, battle it out. Jalen Mayfield, the 68th overall pick, is competing for the starting spot at right tackle on the Falcons’ offensive line. He’s in for a fight on Saturday against Jaelan Phillips.

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  • Rookie Pressure: One of the few weaknesses on Miami’s defense in 2020 was its issues creating consistent pressure off the edge. That’s exactly why the Dolphins made Phillips the No. 16 pick. After missing the first preseason game due to injury, Phillips draws a fantastic matchup to put his strength and size on display.
  • Shake It Off: Mayfield made his NFL debut this past week and it went even worse than you’d expect for a rookie. The Tennessee Titans made him a turnstile and that defense isn’t exactly known for its edge rushers. Mayfield could be in for another rough night on the right side.

Advantage: Jaelan Phillips

The bottom line: We really couldn’t ask for much more in a Falcons vs Dolphins preseason game. While we may not see Atlanta’s biggest offensive stars, they will give us a glimpse at what is coming this fall. On the other side, Tagovailoa should get a ton of reps and that should result in plenty of highlights. NFL fans will want to watch this contest.