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By the Numbers Stats Preview: Falcons vs Jaguars

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The Falcons (5-9) face the flailing Jaguars (5-9) in Week 16 in what appears to be the most winnable game remaining on the schedule. How do Atlanta and Jacksonville match up statistically on offense and defense?

NFL: Preseason-Atlanta Falcons at Jacksonville Jaguars Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons (5-9) pulled off the miraculous upset in Week 15, dethroning the previously top-seeded 49ers (11-3) in a dramatic, close contest. Atlanta stifled San Francisco on defense and did just enough on offense to secure the win, relying on star WR Julio Jones to pick apart an undermanned 49ers secondary.

This week, the Falcons face the flailing Jaguars (5-9) in Mercededs-Benz Stadium. Jacksonville is fresh off firing Tom Coughlin, who had recently run afoul of the NFLPA, and just won their first game in weeks in Week 15. Let’s take a closer look at how the Falcons and Jaguars compare statistically on offense and defense heading into Week 16.

OFFENSE

Statistic Falcons Jaguars
Statistic Falcons Jaguars
Points/game 23.5 (15th) 17.9 (27th)
Total yards/game 370.3 (11th) 344.8 (20th)
Yards per play 5.5 (15th) 5.4 (18th)
Passing yards/game 288.9 (4th) 235.8 (14th)
Passing yards per attempt 7.4 (T-14th) 6.8 (T-18th)
Passing TDs 27 (T-5th) 20 (T-19th)
Rushing yards/game 81.4 (30th) 109.0 (15th)
Rushing yards per attempt 3.7 (T-26th) 4.5 (T-11th)
Rushing TDs 8 (T-23rd) 3 (32nd)
Third Down Efficiency 42% (14th) 33% (28th)
Turnover Margin -6 (25th) -3 (20th)

The Falcons put forth an excellent effort against the top-tier 49ers defense in Week 15. Atlanta is now 15th in scoring offense, 11th in total yardage, and 15th in yards per play. In the passing game, the team is 4th in yardage, T-14th in yards per attempt, and T-5th in passing TDs. On the ground, the Falcons are 30th in yardage, T-26th in yards per carry, and T-23rd in rushing TDs. Atlanta has been about league-average on third down, converting 42% of their opportunities (14th), and have continued to struggle in turnover margin (-6, 25th).

Jacksonville has struggled on offense in 2019. The Jaguars are 27th in scoring offense, 20th in total yardage, and 18th in yards per play. In the passing game, the team is 14th in yardage, T-18th in yards per attempt, and T-19th in passing TDs. On the ground, Jacksonville is 15th in yardage, T-11th in yards per carry, and a surprising 32nd in rushing TDs. The Jaguars have struggled on third down, converting only 33% of their opportunities (28th), and have been below-average in turnover margin (-3, 20th).

Advantage: Falcons

DEFENSE

Statistic Falcons Jaguars
Statistic Falcons Jaguars
Points/game 26.1 (25th) 25.2 (23rd)
Total yards/game 362.6 (20th) 372.4 (24th)
Yards per play 5.8 (21st) 6.0 (28th)
Passing yards/game 253.7 (23rd) 232.3 (14th)
Passing yards per attempt 7.8 (T-24th) 7.9 (26th)
Passing TDs 25 (22nd) 21 (T-15th)
Rushing yards/game 108.9 (16th) 140.1 (29th)
Rushing yards per attempt 4.1 (T-10th) 5.1 (31st)
Rushing TDs 13 (T-20th) 19 (31st)
Third Down Efficiency 43% (24th) 41% (22nd)
Sacks 24 (T-29th) 43 (T-5th)

The Falcons actually played a good game on defense against the vaunted 49ers offense. Atlanta is now 25th in scoring defense, 20th in total yardage allowed, and 21st in yards per play allowed. Against the pass, the team is 23rd in yardage allowed, T-24th in yards per attempt allowed, and 22nd in passing TDs allowed. Against the run, the Falcons are 16th in yardage allowed, T-10th in yards per carry allowed, and T-20th in rushing TDs allowed. Atlanta has struggled on third down, allowing a 43% conversion rate (24th), and are among the league’s worst pass rushes (24 sacks, T-29th).

The Jaguars haven’t quite lived up to their usual standards on defense in 2019. Jacksonville is 23rd in scoring defense, 24th in total yardage allowed, and 28th in yards per play allowed. Against the pass, the team is 14th in yardage allowed, 26th in yards per attempt allowed, and T-15th in passing TDs allowed. Against the run, the Jaguars are 29th in yardage allowed, 31st in yards per carry allowed, and 31st in rushing TDs allowed. Jacksonville has been below-average on third down, allowing a 41% conversion rate (22nd), but have been a top-5 pass rush in 2019 (43 sacks, T-5th).

Advantage: Push

Analysis

The most winnable game remaining on the schedule for the Falcons, this matchup with the Jaguars is actually fairly favorable for Atlanta. Jacksonville has struggled mightily on offense, and their usual dominant defense has been awful against the run and nowhere near as effective against the pass without CB Jalen Ramsey.

It appears Jacksonville will start QB Gardner Minshew over the remainder of the season, who has been more effective as a passer than free agent addition Nick Foles. Even so, the Jaguars have struggled to score on offense—particularly in the run game, where they’re 31st in rushing TDs with only 3 on the season.

The Falcons should have the advantage, as their defense matches up well with the run game of Jacksonville. On offense, Atlanta has an opportunity to run the ball against a defense giving up over 5.1 yards per carry. They’ll need a strong game from the offensive line to hold off the Jaguars’ potent pass rush, but if they can manage that, the Falcons will have an excellent shot at getting to their sixth win on Sunday.

Overall Advantage: Falcons


How do you think the Falcons and Jaguars compare statistically? What’s your prediction for the game on Sunday?