The Falcons are off to a slow start this season as they have lost 3 of their first 4 games, but will be welcoming a Jets team to the Georgia dome that has their own issues.
Atlanta needs a win so they don’t fall too far behind the AFC South leading New Orleans Saints who looks like a serious Super Bowl contender. The Falcons are coming off a 30-23 loss to the New England Patriots and trying to halt a 2 game losing streak. They haven’t loss 3 straight since Matt Ryan has been their quarterback, the last time they lost 3 games in a row was in 2007. Atlanta has lost 3 games by a combined 17 points this season.
However, nobody in Atlanta is ready to panic. “Obviously, we’re not where we want to be,” Ryan told ESPN. “We’ve got to claw ourselves back to where we want to be. It’s a long haul. There’s still a long way to go.”
His main target on offense, Roddy White agrees. “You just don’t panic,” he told ESPN as well. “You are what you earn in this league, so we’re 1-3. You just go out there and correct the problems that you have and get ready for the next game. We know at 1-3 that we can’t get back to .500 after one game.”
New York (2-2) is trying to gain some momentum after a 38-13 shellacking to the Tennessee Titans.
Atlanta is averaging 23.5 points per game (14th in the League) and allowing 26ppg (tied for 21st). Rookie QB Geno Smith has shown flashes of potential, but he’s also been a turnover machine. He enters this contest tied for the League with 11 TO’s (8 interceptions and 3 lost fumbles). The Falcons defense has only managed to get 4 TO’s, but against a rookie signal caller this veteran defense will pull out all the stops and definitely give him several different looks, including lots of blitzing packages.
The Jets are averaging 17ppg (29th) on offense and allowing 22ppg (13th) on defense. New York needs to try and force Atlanta into a lot of turnovers because they cannot outscore the Falcons. Getting into a shootout with the Falcons is a recipe for disaster. And they have been effective against the pass as evident by their 8th place ranking (204ypg) in that aspect. Opposing signal callers complete just 51.4% of their attempts, which is a League best.
New York is going to need to limit the mistakes if they want to have a chance to pull an upset against the heavily favored home team. The Falcons are a 9.5 point favorite to win the game.
Atlanta allows just over 300ypg (26th in the League), but NY’s best bet is to establish a solid running game with Bilal Powell (73ypg and 4.4ypc) and Smith (21.3ypg and 5.3ypc) to set up the pass rather than throwing the ball to set up the run.
Regardless, I just don’t see the Jets having enough offense to beat the home team.
Prediction: Falcons, 24-16.
-Steven Jackson has been ruled out for the Falcons so that’s one less concern the Jets defense will have to worry about. Jackson signed with Atlanta in the offseason and has played in just 2 games so far, averaging 5.5 yards per carry and 38.5ypg. Falcons left tackle Sam Baker is out after suffering a knee injury against New England. Linebacker Akeem Dent is also expected to miss the game after spraining his ankle.
-New York is going to be without offensive lineman Oday Aboushi (knee), wide receiver Santonio Holmes (foot and hamstring), and cornerback Dee Milliner (hamstring).
-Monday night will be the 11th matchup between the 2 teams, Atlanta leads the series, 6-4. Their last meeting was in 2009 when the Falcons won, 10-7 at Giant Stadium.
-Head coaches Rex Ryan and Mike Smith coached together on the Baltimore Ravens from 1999-2002, including their 2000 Super Bowl season.
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