A bye week helped, but Atlanta isn’t fully healthy.
The Falcons travel to Miami with a bye week behind them and having won 2 of their last 3 games. The Dolphins are just coming off their London game and have now lost 5 in a row, including the loss to Jaguars, who had not won in their last 20 games. Here’s a quick recap of where both teams stand going into their weekend matchup.
The early bye week was just what the doctor ordered for the Falcons. After beating the Jets without their top two receivers it will be nice to have both Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage fully healthy on Sunday. Likewise, defensive tackle Marlon Davidson is finally fully healthy as well and figures to be a prominent part of the rotation on Sunday.
That said, Atlanta isn’t completely in the clear. Pass rusher Dante Fowler didn’t practice all week and was ruled out for Sunday. It didn’t take long for the team to put him on injured reserve, which means he’ll miss at least 3 games if not more with an undisclosed knee injury. Likewise, punt returner and nickel corner Avery Williams is listed as doubtful and while there’s an outside shot that Kaleb McGary can come off the COVID list in time for the game, it’s not sounding likely.
As for the Dolphins, their injury list is pretty extensive. They didn’t have anyone miss any practices this week, but they had over a dozen guys listed as Limited throughout the week. Right now, the following players are all listed as questionable: CB Xavien Howard, CB Byron Jones, C Greg Mancz, LB Jaelen Phillips, WR Preston Williams, WR DeVante Parker, CB Noah Igbinoghene.
Most notably, Xavien Howard and Byron Jones are their top two corners (both of whom missed the game in London) and losing them again as the Falcons regain Ridley and Gage would be a major disadvantage. Likewise, not having WR DeVante Parker (who also did not play in London) would reduce the Dolphins receivers to Waddle and a bunch of guys. O
Other limited players included QB Jacoby Brissett, QB Tua Tagovailoa, RB Malcolm Brown, DT John Jenkins and S Brandon Jones.
At 2-3, the Falcons are still at the bottom of the NFC South. The Panthers are just above them at 3-3. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lead the division at 5-1 with the Saints in second at 3-2. The Dolphins 1-5 record has them at the bottom of the AFC East. The division is led by the Buffalo Bills at 4-2 followed by the Patriots (2-4) and the Jets (1-4).