They were about a half a quarter away from picking up their most impressive win of the season last week against Washington. Yet missed opportunities and questionable play calling led to the Atlanta Falcons to fall to 1-3 on the season and a 34-30 defeat.
Now, the Falcons have to shake off that disappointing outing and head overseas to try and pick up another win. Here is the week five preview for the Falcons as they take on the New York Jets in London, England today.
Game: Falcons vs. Jets
Location: London, England
Time and television: Oct. 10th, 9:30 am. EST, NFL Network
Key in-game matchup: Falcons 3rd down offense vs. Jets 3rd down defense
This week, we decide to dive a little deeper with this matchup and include a vital factor that is sure to dictate plenty in this game. By this point in the season, the Jets will statistically be the best third down defense the Falcons will have seen. They currently rank third in the NFL in third down defense. Over the course of the season, the Jets have held their opponents to 29% (Carolina), 25% (New England), 36% (Denver), and 26% (Tennessee) respectively in terms of third down conversions.
The Falcons are currently 14th in the NFL in third down offense and coming off their best performance of the season at a 62.5% conversion rate. With the offense down both Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage at receiver and a run game that has yet to find any level of reliability, the current offensive group will have to find ways to string along drives against one of the best units in the NFL in that category.
One key player to watch: RB Mike Davis
It’s time. Davis was brought in this offseason to be the lead back in the run game for the Falcons and so far on the season, he has rushed for 151 total yards. In week four, Davis was able to produce only 14 rushing yards on 13 carries. The lack of run game is not all on Davis as the offensive line is still gradually meshing as the weeks go by and hasn’t always given him room to work with.
Last week presented an opponent that could have been an opportunity for the Falcons run game to get going, but that was not the case, as we saw. The Jets enter this contest ranked 22nd in rushing defense and 27th in rushing touchdowns. As mentioned earlier, the passing game is lacking some muscle this week so if there was ever a game in which the run game is to be leaned on considerably, it is this one.
How can the Falcons win: Dig a little deep
So far, literally everything is steadily stacking up against the Falcons in this one. No Ridley, Gage, a pair of key defensive backs are likely non-participants due to injuries, not to mention the team is making a tough voyage to a total different country coming off of a fourth quarter collapse at home to Washington last week.
On the surface, it does not appear that things are not in their favor to pull out a victory. If they do, it will likely be an ugly one, one of those wins where the box score is hard to look at and you will probably want to forget this game was played. From a mental standpoint, I am concerned about this team because in recent seasons, games like this one have proven to be stages of grief for the Falcons. If they are to win this week, they will have to muster up the right amount of energy and effort. It’s not an impossible task, but given the factors working against them, it may be one that is more complex than it seems.