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Atlanta Falcons must soar higher than New York Jets on Monday Night Football

Rookie quarterback Geno Smith and the New York Jets come to the Georgia Dome to try and crush the Atlanta Falcons' playoff hopes.

Rookie quarterback Geno Smith and the New York Jets come to the Georgia Dome to try and crush the Atlanta Falcons’ playoff hopes.

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.

Run games

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.

Rookies

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.”

Can the Atlanta Falcons force turnovers from the player who tries to play basketball in a NFL game?

Can the Atlanta Falcons force turnovers from the player who tries to play basketball in a NFL game?

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.

Coaching

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.

Could tight end Tony Gonzalez watch the sole reason he came back for another year -- a Super Bowl ring with the Atlanta Falcons -- slip through his figures so early in the season?

Could tight end Tony Gonzalez watch the sole reason he came back for another year — a Super Bowl ring with the Atlanta Falcons — slip through his figures so early in the season?

Prediction

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

2573 comments
504 N.O. EZ
504 N.O. EZ

MELTY ICE & THE FAILCONS DOES IT AGAIN.

 ✔ESPN OUTsider
✔ESPN OUTsider

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.

CONCHS333 IS BACK BITCHES
CONCHS333 IS BACK BITCHES

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

G & G
G & G moderator

CMIII will be out 4 to 6 games...

FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!

Donny33
Donny33

new article pahlease


rocketman6969
rocketman6969

So Snelling got a concussion last night, figures.

Donny33
Donny33

PackersNews

Rodgers, teammate Andy Mulumba and actress Emmanuelle Chriqui are teaming up for a cause.

-------I bet Rodgers is banging Chiriqui that lucky bastid.

falconsriseup19
falconsriseup19

btw, taking NFCS questions for the mailbag still

[email protected]

NightStalkerThief
NightStalkerThief

So i was trying to look up what having snake dreams meant and it pulled up a bunch of bs. I'm thoroughly annoyed

Donny33
Donny33

Gotta give Rex Ryan credit.  He's a tool who loves him some feet, but he gets that defense to play hard.

vanderheap19
vanderheap19

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.

Staffords_Glove
Staffords_Glove

@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

vanderheap19
vanderheap19

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.

rocketman6969
rocketman6969

@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.

Donny33
Donny33

@vanderheap19 tough to say.  hard to hit on every draft pick.  but hypothetically they could have addressed oline and defensive issues.

Staffords_Glove
Staffords_Glove

@Tearloch @thenichels Why do people act like athletes wouldnt get hurt playing if they didnt shoot commercials? One of the stupidest arguments ppl routinely bring up