At the end of the 2007 season, both teams found themselves in the same position: good and terrible.
They both went after the services of Bill Parcells as a personnel guru—the Dolphins won out.
But since then, Atlanta has been the more successful team and, going into tonight's game, the Falcons are a team with their eyes on their first Vince Lombardi trophy as the defending NFC South Champions, posting the best record in the NFC last season at 13-3. However, they saw their season come to a premature end at the hands of the eventual Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers.
To help improve their chances, Atlanta traded five draft picks for University of Alabama wideout Julio Jones. Alongside Roddy White, the running back tandem of Michael Turner and Oregon State rookie Jaquizz Rodgers, and tight end Tony Gonzalez, the Falcons hope they have the offense they need around fourth-year quarterback Matt Ryan to get over the hump and get to Indianapolis.
On the flip side, you have the Miami Dolphins. They won the Parcells sweepstakes, but then midway through the season saw him walk away. Now it's up to Sparano and Ireland alone, and the two are probably on the hottest of seats in the NFL this season.
The Dolphins acquired Reggie Bush during the offseason and drafted Daniel Thomas in the second round to offset the offseason losses of Reggie Bush and Ricky Williams; however, the key will be the play at quarterback.
While the starting job is Chad Henne's to lose at this point, due to a great camp combined with the lack of a blockbuster deal for a QB, the Dolphins' fate this season depends largely on him.
If Henne delivers, the Dolphins are a playoff team. If he falters, then Sparano and Ireland are unemployed come January 2nd.
A lot of questions for both teams will begin the process of answering tonight. So sit back, grab a cold beverage, and enjoy tonight's game.
Now, as a reminder, in Miami the game will be televised on WFOR CBS4. In Atlanta the game will be televised on WCGL CBS Atlanta. Viewers in West Palm Beach can watch the game on WTVX CW West Palm, and in Ft. Myers-Naples you can watch the game on WBBH NBC2. Finally the game will also be televised in Orlando on WRDQ Central Florida's 27.
You can catch a replay of the game tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. on NFL Network. Of course, check your local cable or satellite listings for the channel placement of these stations.
And check back here throughout the course of the game and leave any comments you feel necessary. Not only will I give you some of my quick takes on both the Falcons and Dolphins, but also provide updates on tonight's Cubs-Braves game, especially on Braves second baseman Dan Uggla's attempt to extend his hitting streak to 32 games.