Tale Of The Tape: New York Jets At Atlanta Falcons
- QuarterbackGeno Smith has exceeded expectations by the numbers that he has produced. The Jets rank 16th out of the 32 teams in the NFL in passing yards per game, and nobody thought Smith would be at that level during his rookie season. Having said that, Smith often looks confused and he has a 4-8 TD-interception ratio. That’s a problem for a team trying to keep its head above water.Matt Ryan was making a case to be the best quarterback in the NFL a year ago. Now, he’s scratching his head and trying to figure out what went wrong. Ryan is completing 66.5 percent of his passes, averaging 316.5 yards per game and he has an 8-3 TD-interception ratio. However, the Falcons are not putting games away and they are just 1-3.
- OffenseThe Jets have gotten a lift from Bilal Powell, but it seems unlikely that he’s going to dominate many opponents the rest of the way. He is averaging 4.4 yards per carry, but he is not a breakaway threat. Stephen Hill has caught 13 passes for the Jets, but he suffered a head injury (check status) vs. the Titans. Jets need more from Santonio Holmes (hamstring injury vs. Tennessee), who has caught just 10 passes this season.Julio Jones is a superstar who can take over a game and dominate. He has caught 33-481-2, including seven receptions of 20 yards or more. The big question is what’s wrong with Roddy White, who has caught just 10 passes this year. The running game has suffered without Steven Jackson (hamstring), and he does not seem likely to return for this game.
- DefenseThe Jets will bring it on the defensive side of the ball. That’s the signature of any Rex Ryan-coached team. The Jets are second in fewest yards allowed per game, but the defense can’t get the job done on its own if the offense is going to turn the ball over. Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson has a team-high 3.0 sacks, while linebacker DeMario Davis has a team-high 29 tackles.The Falcons are struggling to hold the line and assert themselves at the point of attack. The Falcons rank 25th in yards allowed per game and the front seven’s lack of strength and girth seems to be a factor as they tend to get pushed around. Linebacker Akeem Dent has been very active with 28 tackles, but he hurt his knee vs. New England and his status has not been determined for this game.
- Special TeamsThe Jets have been doing a solid job in covering punts and kickoffs, but they don’t seem to be a threat to take punts and kickoffs back a long way. Nick Folk has made 8-of-8 field goal attempts, but he has not tried an attempt of 50 yards or more. Robert Malone has dropped just three of his 16 punts inside the 20.The Falcons have struggled to cover punts and kickoffs in the early going. Jacquizz Rodgers and Harry Douglas look like solid return men, but neither has broken a long one yet. Matt Bryant is one of the game’s most consistent kickers, having made 8-of-9 FG attempts this season.
The Falcons are desperate for a win and if they can’t handle the Jets on their homefield, their season will almost certainly end in disaster. There’s panic in Atlanta right now and this is the time to start turning things around.