NFL Week 6 Preview: Dolphins at Falcons
The Miami Dolphins visit the Atlanta Falcons in Week 6 of the 2017 season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game.
Coverage by: Cyrus Geller
Matchup: Miami Dolphins offense vs. Atlanta Falcons defense
- WR Kenny Stills vs. CB Desmond Trufant – Kenny Stills has had a rough season thus far, as his overall grade of 38.1 currently ranks him 108th out of 110 qualifying receivers. And things won’t get any easier for him this weekend, as he goes up against Desmond Trufant, who is the 14th highest graded cornerback this year out of 109 that qualify with a grade of 84.2. In Week 4 against Buffalo, Trufant was targeted five times and he only allowed one catch for nine yards and he had a pass defensed. If Still wants to get on track for 2017, he will certainly have to earn it against Trufant.
- WR Jarvis Landry vs. CB Brian Poole – Landry hasn’t had a spectacular season from the slot, ranking 28th out of 52 receivers in catch rate from the slot at 68.4 and 34th in yards per route run at 1.07. When he lines up in the slot however, he is the ninth most targeted receiver, as he is thrown to 21.8 percent of the time when in the slot. He will then likely draw Brian Poole for a good portion of this game, which will make this matchup tough for him. Poole’s overall grade of 82.4 is 24th out of 109 qualified cornerbacks, and while he is tied for the second-most targets when in slot coverage at 24, he has yet to give up a touchdown.
- TE Julius Thomas vs. LB Deion Jones – Julius Thomas has struggled in 2017, ranking 63rd out of 68 tight ends with an overall grade of 41.4, and he is 32nd out of 37 tight ends in yards per route run at 1.08. Unfortunately for him, he goes up against one of the better linebacker cores in the NFL this week, particularly Deion Jones, who is the 13th highest graded linebacker this season, right behind his teammate De’Vondre Campbell. Jones gives up an average of 0.76 yards per coverage snap, which is 11th out of 47 qualified inside linebackers.
Coverage by: Bill O’Brien
Matchup: Atlanta Falcons offense vs. Miami Dolphins defense
- WR Julio Jones vs. CB Cordrea Tankersley – Star wide receiver Julio Jones has yet to have one of his enormous games that Falcons fans have come accustomed to seeing. Jones could be in line for a big game this weekend due to a hamstring injury that will keep fellow receiver Mohamed Sanu from playing this weekend. Sanu’s absence means the Falcons will likely rely more heavily on Jones who despite the slower than expected start is still leading the NFL in yards per route run at 2.95 YPRR. Starting cornerback Byron Maxwell has given way to rookie cornerback Tankersley, who was matched up with Saints WR Michael Thomas in his first career game in Week 4. Against the Saints, Tankersley was targeted seven times, allowing just 36 yards. QB Drew Brees targeted him five times on the game’s opening drive, but only two times the entire rest of the game. On the season, Tankersley has allowed 84.6 percent of his targets to be caught, but only allows an average of 7.0 yards per catch and has two passes defended. The matchup against Jones will be the biggest one-on-one matchup of his young career.
- HB Tevin Coleman vs. LB Lawrence Timmons – Back in Week 4, Falcons receivers Mohamed Sanu and Julio Jones both exited the game due to injury. Half back Tevin Coleman helped fill the void by turning 13 touches for 142 total yards. Coleman boosted his yardage output on a couple of long runs that totaled 53 yards, which resulted in Coleman earning the third highest breakaway percentage in Week 4 at 68.8 percent. The Dolphins will employ linebacker Lawrence Timmons to try to slow down Coleman after his big Week 4 performance. In the two games that Timmons has been active so far this season, he has tied for eighth in coverage grade among linebackers with a grade of 84.2.
- C Alex Mack vs. Di Ndamukong Suh – This Sunday’s matchup will feature one of the league’s premiere defensive tackles matching up against one of the league’s premiere centers. Dolphins’ defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is routinely one of the best defensive tackles year in and year out and this year is no different. Suh is currently the fourth-highest graded interior defender in the league with an overall grade of 89.5. Similar to Suh, Falcons’ center Alex Mack always makes his way near the top among centers in overall grade and is actually currently the top graded center with an overall grade of 93.9. Mack especially excels in pass blocking as he has allowed just one pressure all season and is currently second among centers with a 99.5 pass blocking efficiency rating.