Monday, October 7, 2013

Four Point Stance: Jets at Falcons


The Atlanta Falcons are 1-3, and the New York Jets are 2-2. So it only makes sense that the Falcons are favored by nearly 10 points.

Atlanta is coming off consecutive losses to AFC East teams, falling to the Miami Dolphins before getting beat last Monday night by the New England Patriots. Despite the stellar receiving trio of Tony Gonzalez, Roddy White and Julio Jones catching passes from Matt Ryan en route to the third-ranked passing offense, the Falcons have been subpar everywhere else.

The Jets continued their roller-coaster start to the season with an ugly loss to the Tennessee Titans last week. New York has been predictably unpredictable thus far.


When the Jets have the ball:
Geno Smith won't have Santonio Holmes, the Jets' best playmaker, at his disposal, and with Stephen Hill coming off a concussion, Smith can only hope tight end Kellen Winslow is a go. Winslow has been Smith's top pass-catcher but is questionable with his nagging knee ailment. Gang Green will have a mostly healthy offensive backfield with Chris Ivory returning and Mike Goodson back on the active roster. Atlanta is one of only four teams to have already given up two 40-plus-yard rushes.

When the Falcons have the ball:
The Jets' defensive front is elite. It will need to be elite Monday. The Falcons' offense front is shaky and should give Muhammad Wilkerson & Co. opportunities to tee off on Ryan and stifle a Steven Jackson-less backfield. However, the secondary needs to up its game, as it was somewhat taken advantage of last week against a so-so Tennessee passing attack. Antonio Cromartie must be on point, and the linebackers and safeties will have their hands full trying to rough up Gonzalez before he breaks off his routes.

Demario Davis. How the Jets' second-year linebacker Davis plays will decide this game. He'll be tasked with trying to disrupt arguably the greatest tight end in the history of the game, albeit with some safety help. Davis has been flying around this year making big stops and tackles, particularly against the run, but he'll need to prove himself in the passing game on a big stage against a bigger figure.

The Falcons lead the all-time series, 6-4, and are 3-2 at home against the Jets. Atlanta won the teams' last meeting in 2009 on a touchdown pass from Ryan to Gonzalez with less than two minutes to go. After the game, Rex Ryan famously conceded the Jets were out of the playoff race before clinching a playoff berth a few weeks later.

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