Atlanta Falcons must soar higher than New York Jets on Monday Night Football
- Updated: October 7, 2013
The New York Jets (2-2) head to the Georgia Dome to face the Atlanta Falcons (1-3) for Monday Night Football. Kickoff for the contest is at 8:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPN.
Both teams have some key injuries. Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes (hamstring) and tight end Kellen Winslow (knee) are listed as out. Falcons running back Steven Jackson (thigh), left tackle Sam Baker (knee), and middle linebacker Akeem Dent (ankle) are all ruled out. Linebacker Paul Worrilow (knee) and corner Asante Samuel (thigh) are both questionable but practiced some this week.
The Falcons made no attempt to establish the run last week against the New England Patriots (4-1). They rushed just 15 times. ProFootballFocus has the New York Jets ranked first in run defense with a staggering grade of +39.4, so the lack of run plays from the Falcons will likely continue.
Jets running back Bilal Powell, who is averaging 4.4 yards per carry and has amassed 142 yards after contact, should see plenty of carries against a Falcons linebacking corps that is beat up badly. They will be forced to start Stephen Nicholas, who lost his job to an undrafted free agent, if Worrilow cannot go. With Akeem Dent out, Atlanta will be looking to start eight-year journeyman Omar Gaither, who is now playing for his fourth team in as many years.
Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith has been terrible, completing 57.4 percent of his passes for only four touchdowns and eight interceptions (second most in the NFL). He has also fumbled three times, including another infamous “butt fumble.”
Falcons rookie corners Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford have combined to allow 261 yards and two touchdowns on the year while defensing four passes and getting one interception. They need to take advantage Santonio Holmes’ absence and win their match-ups.
Atlanta is near the bottom in the NFL with only seven sacks and three interceptions on the year. Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan must gameplan to take advantage of the Jets’ turnover-prone offense, which have given the ball away 12 times (second most).
In the red zone
The Falcons are ranked 30th in the league in red-zone efficiency, having converted touchdowns on only 38.9 percent of trips. This is down from their 67-percent conversion rate last year. The Falcons must find ways to finish drives.
Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and head coach Mike Smith need to find ways to get other players involved. They have been unsuccessful in being able to formulate a game plan in which anyone outside of wide receiver Julio Jones or tight end Tony Gonzalez can be successful. They were outcoached by Bill Belichick last week in embarrassing fashion, as the New England Patriots effectively neutralized any offensive player they wanted.
Battle of the trenches
Can the Falcons offensive line protect quarterback Matt Ryan against the Jets who have recorded 15 sacks this season? The Falcons rank 30th in sacks with only seven. Can the defense apply pressure on Smith to force turnovers?
Matchup of the game
Jets cornerback Antonio Rodgers-Cromartie has only allowed 51.9 percent of passes to be caught by the receiver he is covering — but he is giving up 16.5 yards per catch, totaling 231 yards and two touchdowns.
Cromartie said earlier in the week that the key to beating big receivers is being physical. He matches up better than most cornerbacks do, standing 6’2″ and weighing 210 pounds. He will need every bit of it as he goes toe to toe with Jones (6’3″, 220 pounds), who has caught 71.7 percent of targets for an average of 14.6 yards a catch and currently ranks fourth in receiving yards. If Jones reaches his average of 120 yards per game tonight, he will be leading the league after five weeks.
With receiver Roddy White still playing hurt, the Falcons need Jones to win this matchup.
The Atlanta Falcons are two games under .500 for the first time in the Ryan/Smith era. They are playing at home with their backs against the wall. The division title is far out of reach. This is a must-win game. The Falcons will rise up because they must . . . if they are to avoid an untimely crash and burn.
Final score: Atlanta Falcons 23, New York Jets 13
Data since 2010, 4th down attempts have been successful ~66% of the time, and here's the breakdown of how well different tactics have worked.
@Booyang HAAAAAAAN post it in the new article, i think mostly everyone moved over there
Got some good shit about going for it on 4th down but as soon as I post it there'll be a new article link.
@Booyang HAAAAAAAN Just post it. If its good, we will stay.
@Booyang HAAAAAAAN post it in the new article
so the next 3 opponents for the Bucs are a combined 4-10. I think we have a good shot of getting to 3-4 before we go out to SEA
@CONCHS333 IS BACK BITCHES I think they need to worry about being 1-4 before you start making bold predictions like a 3 game win streak...
@thenichelsAnd shoot some new commercials.
@G & G At least he'll be back for the Thanksgiving game.
@G & G hopefully.
@G & G Gives him time to work on his hair.
@←sgunderson17→I generally double the "estimate" from the Packers training staff...
@G & G It happens almost every year lol. We went 3-1 last year w/out him. Perry and Neal are coming on. Itll hurt....but they should be ok
@Donny_Donowitz33 needs moar bewbs.
Rodgers, teammate Andy Mulumba and actress Emmanuelle Chriqui are teaming up for a cause.-------I bet Rodgers is banging Chiriqui that lucky bastid.
btw, taking NFCS questions for the mailbag still
@falconsriseup19 oh yeah! i'm about to send in a question
@falconsriseup19 why does matty shinebox choke all of the time?
So i was trying to look up what having snake dreams meant and it pulled up a bunch of bs. I'm thoroughly annoyed
@NightStalkerThief It means that you were thinking about the D?
@NightStalkerThief You obviously need sex.
new probowl uniformshttp://nbcprofootballtalk.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/probowl.jpg?w=219
@CONCHS333 IS BACK BITCHES Those are ugly as shit.
Gotta give Rex Ryan credit. He's a tool who loves him some feet, but he gets that defense to play hard.
@Donny_Donowitz33 He's just doing enough to keep his job for another year.
@Donny_Donowitz33 he needs to be a DC somehwere...good DC, bad HC
Given Julio Jones' success, was the trade for drafting him still worth it? Or would the Falcons have done better to use the multiple draft picks for other spots? Honest question, I've been curious how that draft would turn out in the long run since it happened.
@vanderheap19 i wrote an article on it in the preseason
You cant replace Julio he is that good. who knows how the other picks would have turned out
@vanderheap19 tough to say. hard to hit on every draft pick. but hypothetically they could have addressed oline and defensive issues.
@vanderheap19 That trade was good thing for the Falcons
@vanderheap19 Without Julio, the Falcons would be much worse than they are. I don't care how many extra picks we would have had, this season, Julio, Ryan, and Tony G. Have dragged the Falcons to being close in all their losses.
I realize it's hard/impossible to untangle who they might have drafted otherwise. I would assume they'd have taken a receiver with one of those picks anyway. Perhaps not on Jones' level, but it is not as if there'd be a vacuum there instead. And other holes?
Yea, no way of knowing who they'd pick, and how they'd have turned out. But if the argument is there are talent holes at a few other positions, looking at that draft might be a reason why.