The Miami Dolphins will be heading home to host the Atlanta Falcons in Week 7 of the 2021 NFL season. The Dolphins are coming off of a heartbreaking loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in London in Week 6, lowering their record to 1-5 on the season. The good news for Miami was that Tua Tagovailoa was able to return to the offense for the first time since Week 2.
The Falcons are coming off of their bye week in Week 6 after securing their second win of the season over the New York Jets in London in Week 5. Atlanta looked better versus New York in London, but they still have some kinks to work out under new head coach, Arthur Smith.
While Miami is considered the underdogs on Sunday, here are five reasons why the Dolphins will defeat the Falcons in Week 7.
Tua Tagovailoa Is Back For The Dolphins
Once again, Tagovailoa was able to make his return to the offense for the Dolphins after a three-week absence. While the offense was stagnant with Jacoby Brissett, Tagovailoa had one of the best outings of his career in Week 6 versus the Jaguars. Tagovailoa completed 33 of his 47 attempts for 329 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.
Having a quarterback that can stay on script and push the ball down the field at times is valuable for NFL teams. With the Falcons having the 30th ranked pass defense in terms of DVOA, Tagovailoa is poised for another stellar showing in Week 7.
Jaylen Waddle Is Better When Tagovailoa Is At Quarterback
The one player that benefitted the most from Tagovailoa returning to the lineup was Jaylen Waddle. Waddle had just one decent game without Tagovailoa this season, which came in Week 3 when he caught 12 passes for 58 yards.
In his first game with Tagovailoa since Week 2, Waddle exploded for 10 catches, 70 yards, and two touchdowns in Week 6 against the Jaguars. Given that the Falcons have a weak secondary, Waddle is in a perfect spot to have another productive game in Week 7. Also, if DeVante Parker returns in Week 7, Waddle could see more opportunities as the defense will need to focus on Parker and Mike Gesicki too.
Atlanta’s Defense Is A Mess
The defense of the Falcons has a few players that are productive guys at their respective positions. But all in all, Atlanta has one of the worst defenses in the NFL. The Falcons allow the second-most points per game (29.6) and have the 30th ranked defense in DVOA. The offense of the Dolphins showed signs of life in Week 6 despite losing to the Jaguars in London.
Tagovailoa and the offense in Miami should have no trouble moving the ball on Sunday versus a dismal defense.
Atlanta’s Offense Is A Mess
Yes, the offense of the Dolphins hasn’t been consistently great this season, but neither have the Falcons. Matt Ryan is still adjusting to a new offense under Smith, and Atlanta is still trying to configure ways to get Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts the ball more. Cordarrelle Patterson has emerged as a dynamic weapon for the Falcons in recent weeks.
Even with Atlanta’s offense having success versus New York in Week 5, I don’t think they are an unstoppable offense by any means. And even though the defense of the Dolphins has been largely disappointing, I think they are better than they’ve shown thus far, and I believe they can take advantage of a shaky offensive line of the Falcons.
Dolphins Could Be Getting Byron Jones And/Or Xavien Howard Back
In Miami’s Week 6 showdown with Jacksonville, they were without Byron Jones and Xavien Howard at cornerback. As a result, Trevor Lawrence and the passing attack of the Jaguars were able to take advantage of a shorthanded secondary.
For the time being, there seems to be a chance that Jones and/or Howard could return to the defense in Week 7. Seeing that Ridley and Pitts are on the other side of the field, having a healthy defense will be vital in slowing down Atlanta’s athletic offensive weapons.