NFL odds players love the Falcons offense led by quarterback Matt Ryan but had reservations about the defense, which was considered Atlanta’s weakness with the NFL betting odds.
But so far in the preseason the defense has looked solid and sometimes even dominant as was the case last week in Atlanta’s 16-6 win at Miami over the Dolphins as 2.5-point dogs. Last year Atlanta ranked 23rd in overall defense but against Miami they looked like the best in football.
And while some detractors may argue that it was only a preseason game the defense also performed well in holding the Kansas City Chiefs to 10 points in the preseason opener.
Atlanta held the Dolphins to just 241 total yards and a meager 40 yards on the ground with a poor 2.6 yards per carry average. Miami starting quarterback Chad Henne was held in check by the Falcons defense as he went just 10-22 for 123 yards and had an interception.
The Falcons collected 2 sacks on the night and held Miami to 1-9 of third down conversions. The Dolphins first unit had a putrid 10 yards rushing.
“Our defense played well,” said Atlanta head coach Mike Smith. “We were getting off the field, and you’ve got to do that to limit your exposure on defense.”
Ryan also showed why he will be a key asset for Atlanta with the NFL betting lines as he passed for 103 yards with a touchdown as he led the Falcons to scoring drives of 60 and 54 yards while leading Atlanta to 8-14 on third down conversions.
The combination of Ryan and a stout defense would make Atlanta one of the most dangerous teams on the board with the NFL lines. Last year the Falcons got the money in 11 out of 16 games to rank as one of the most profitable teams in the NFL.
“I liked what I saw tonight from all three phases,” said Smith. “We played effectively and with a lot of energy.”
What was most impressive of all in the win with the NFL odds at Miami was that the Falcons were the dominant team when the first units of each side went against each other.