Week 8 finds the New York Jets (3-4) facing off against the Atlanta Falcons (3-3) as they try and get back to .500 on the season.
After a heartbreaking loss to the New England Patriots the week before. The Jets appeared they were going to put that loss behind them. So losing the lead and the game against the Dolphins caused more pain.
The Jets are now 3-4 on the season and life doesn’t get any easier for them this week as they take on the defending NFC Champions the Atlanta Falcons.
Atlanta sits at 3-3 and looks to get over the .500 mark and end their three-game losing streak. All three of those losses have come against AFC East teams.
Here’s what the Jets need to do to ensure they aren’t the AFC East squad that comes up short against the Falcons.
Jets Secondary Must Step Up
The Jets secondary has no easy task having to face the reigning NFL MVP Matt Ryan and his many weapons, which include wide receivers Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Taylor Gabriel and tight end Austin Hooper.
Atlanta’s passing attack ranks seventh in the league this season.
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) October 22, 2017
Skrine is in the concussion protocol and his status for this game is unclear. But the Jets simply need to get a better performance from their secondary against the Falcons loaded passing attack.
They have to limit the big plays downfield because the Falcons are going to take their shots. Ryan hasn’t been incredibly accurate, averaging one interception per game, so the Jets should be able to come away with a pick.
Offense Must Find Killer Instinct
The offense has done enough to put themselves in position to win games over the past few weeks, but the lack of a killer instinct is killing the Jets.
“It’s frustrating,” head coach Todd Bowles told reporters, per USA Today‘s Gary Phillips. “We didn’t finish. At some point, we’ve got to develop some killer instinct to finish ball games. You’ve just got to finish ball games.”
The playcalling is too conservative when the Jets have the lead. They try to run out the clock with 12 minutes left in the game instead of going after their opponents throats and doing what they did that got them the lead in the first place.
Not keeping their foot on the gas hurt them this past week and nearly did in the Jacksonville game. Josh McCown also has to make better decisions with the ball down the stretch.
He has played well for the Jets this season—better than many thought he would. But he has had some costly turnovers, especially late in games that open the door for the opposition. They can’t win games if they are going to continue to shoot themselves in the foot.
Convert On Third Down
Converting on third down is a crucial component in this game. The Jets must keep drives alive and, more importantly, keep Ryan and the rest of the Falcons weapons on the bench.
The Falcons defense is the 13th-worst in the NFL when it comes to stopping opponents on third down, allowing teams to convert on 40 percent of their tries.
The Jets have only converted 39 percent of their third-down opportunities this year, which is ranked 15th in the NFL.
Final Thoughts And Prediction
Gang Green desperately needs to avoid a three-game losing streak. The past two weeks have hurt, as they had their opportunities to win and have fallen short.
The Falcons are not playing the smoothest football either over the past three weeks. But when they are on they are a tough team to beat.
The Jets have played well at home this season, so they should put up a good fight. But in the end, I see the Falcons pulling out a 27-20 victory.