The defending NFC champion Falcons are currently sitting at .500 with a record of 3-3 while the Jets hope to come away with a win to get them to an even 4-4. It’s a tall order for the Jets, who have lost consecutive heart breakers to the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins. How do the Jets stack up against Atlanta?
Let’s take a look at some key match-ups along with position groups and players to watch.
CB Morris Claiborne vs. WR Julio Jones: Claiborne has been praised for what has been some very good performances this season, his first in Todd Bowles defense that relies on plenty of man coverage. Today, Claiborne gets a chance to head to head with the best in the business in Julio Jones. Despite a down year for Jones (34 rec, 466 yds, 1 TD), a thin Jets secondary may be just what he’s been looking for. If the Jets have any hopes of limiting Jones’ damage, it is going to be on Claiborne’s shoulders.
DL Muhammad Wilkerson vs. OT Jake Matthews: Las week against the Dolphins, Jets fans saw Wilkerson playing with a high motor for the first time this season and the increase in effort led to vastly improved results. After spending the first six weeks of the season as a non-factor (9 solo tackles, 0 sacks), Wilkerson came away with 4 tackles, an interception and multiple pressures. If this is in fact what the Jets will be getting from this point on, Matthews will have his hands full all day.
DL Leonard Williams vs OG Wes Schweitzer: Like Wilkerson, Williams is without a single sack this season, but may have a chance today against Schweitzer who has struggled at times, earning a pass blocking grade of 45.7 on 228 pass plays.
ILB’s Darron Lee and Demario Davis vs. RB’s Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman: The field at MetLife stadium will likely be a wet one and Davis and Lee, while playing much better of late, have struggled at times with teams running the ball through the middle of the Jets’ defense. Given the elusiveness of the Falcons running backs and the conditions of the field, it could be a long day for the inside linebacking duo if Freeman or Coleman are able to find some footing.
RT Brent Qvale vs OLB Kemal Ishmael: Jets starting right tackle Brandon Shell will be on the shelf this week with a neck injury while Brent Qvale steps in to get the start. Gang Green should look to take advantage of Qvale being in the line up as a superior run blocker on that side matching up against Kemal Ishmael who will be playing in place of the injured Duke Reilly.
Just a few hours until kickoff Jets fans. Will Claiborne and Wilkerson team up to make it a long day for Matt Ryan? We’ll know soon enough.