Falcons vs Jets Game Preview
Talk about a small sample size. When it comes to NFL preseason play, the New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons are relative strangers. This will be just their fourth meeting on the gridiron since 2000, and only their seventh game against each other since 1977. This will be the fifth time during those seven games that the Jets have served as the home team, and home field has served them well. The Jets have won the last two preseason games from the Falcons, both at MetLife Stadium.
This preseason series actually started in spectacular fashion back in 1968. The Jets, who would win Super Bowl III 16-7 over the Baltimore Colts that season to become the first Super Bowl champion from the upstart AFL, traveled to the deep south to face the NFL Falcons. The game was staged at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala., home to the Alabama Crimson Tide and alma mater of Jets quarterback Joe Namath. And Namath put on a show in his old home, completing 12-of-20 passes for 140 yards and two TDs as the Jets won 27-12.
Falcons vs Jets NFL Historical Matchup
There’s two different dynamics in play when you begin to analyze the all-time series between the New York Jets and Atlanta Falcons. In the preseason, the play you probably want to make here is to wager on the Jets. They’ve won two in a row from the Falcons, both wins coming at MetLife Stadium, and both arriving in convincing fashion – 30-22 in 2015 and 31-16 in 2007. The Falcons haven’t beaten the Jets on the road in a preseason game since a 20-10 decision in 2001.
However, when you switch your analysis to regular-season play, the pendulum suddenly swings in favor of the Falcons. Atlanta has won three of the last four games and five of the last seven from the Jets, including a 25-20 verdict at MetLife stadium in Week Eight of the 2017 NFL season. Atlanta has won the last two regular-season games against the Jets at MetLife Stadium. The Jets haven’t beaten the Falcons at home in regular-season action since a 28-3 romp over Atlanta on Oct. 25, 1998.
Should You Go Low? – This Jets-Falcons conundrum continues when you venture to look into a total play on this game. Regular-season numbers suggest that you should go for the under with your wager, when you take into consideration that six of the last eight Jets-Falcons regular-season games have gone under the total, including last season’s 25-20 Falcons victory. In 12 all-time regular-season meetings between Atlanta and the Jets, only once has either team managed to score 30 points in a game.
But the Jets have put up 61 points in their last two home preseason games against the Falcons, and the average total for those two games was 49.5 points. The Jets were 5-3 on the over/under at home in 2017, but the Falcons were just 3-7 on the over/under in road games last season. Atlanta has averaged 18.83 points per game in the last six preseason meetings with the Jets, but the Falcons have scored 20 or more points in four of the last five exhibition tilts against the Jets.
Long And Short – Decisive victories have been the order of the day in the last three Jets-Falcons preseason contests. Not one of the three games was decided by less than a touchdown, and two of the three games finished with double-digit margins in favor of the victor. In the last three regular-season meetings, though, it’s come right down to the wire. The combined margin of victory in those games was 10 points, an average of 3.3 points per game. Two of those games were decided by a score in the game’s final two minutes.
Run ATL – You know that Falcons can fly, but in Atlanta, they can also run with the best of them. Atlanta’s 1-2 punch at running back of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman rates right up there with the top backfield tandems in the NFL. Since they became backfield buddies in 2015, Coleman and Freeman have combined to carry the ball 1049 times for 4540 yards and 43 tocuhdowns. But they are equally dangerous as receivers, catching 223 balls for 2091 yards and 12 TDs. That works out to 4.3 yards per carry and 9.4 yards per catch.
Ryan Express – Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has posted a 2-1 career slate against the Jets, with a passer rating of 99.5. Accuracy has proven to be one of Ryan’s assets when facing the Jets. He has thrown five touchdown passes in the three games and the Jets have never picked him off. The Jets and Ravens are the only NFL teams that have never intercepted a Ryan pass. Overall, Ryan is 5-7 in his NFL career against AFC East opposition, including an 0-3 slate when facing the New England Patriots.
Keeping Up With Jones – Falcons receiver Julio Jones, a five-time Pro Bowl selection whose career receiving average of 95.3 yards per game is the highest in NFL history, is an unhappy camper. Jones, who led the NFL with 136 catches in 2015, skipped Atlanta’s spring OTAs. He’s embroiled in a contract dispute with the team and is seeking to rework the pact he signed with the Falcons that would carry through 2020. The five-year deal was worth $71.25 million, which at the time made Jones the NFL’s highest-paid WR.
Sudden Sam – Many NFL scouts felt USC’s Sam Darnold was the quarterback best-suited for the pro game who was available in the 2018 Draft, and it could be that the Jets got a steal when Darnold fell to them. The Jets traded to move up from sixth overall to No. 3 to get Darnold. With veteran Josh McCown in the fold and Teddy Bridgewater signed as a free agent, the quarterback position looks to be deep and solid for the Jets. They won’t be forced into a position where they have to rush Darnold into action before he’s ready to go.
Playoffs? You Talkin’ Playoffs? – There’s been some buzz about the Jets being a sleeper team that could surprise during the 2018 NFL season, but the online sportsbooks don’t appear to be buying into the hype. BetOnline lists the odds of the Jets being a postseason team at +600, tied with the Miami Dolphins for the longest odds among AFC East clubs. There’s a lot more love being shown to the Falcons. They sit with odds of +115, second-best among NFC South clubs, to return to postseason play for the third straight season.
In terms of wins, Bovada has established nine as the total wins for the Falcons this season, a total they’ve surpassed in each of the past two seasons, with 10 wins in 2017 and 11 in 2016. If you believe they will do so again, play the over at -140. But if you doubt the Falcons, the under offers odds of +115. Six is where Bovada has pegged the Jets’ win total for 2018. They’ve gone under that number in each of the past two seasons. That play will get you -135 odds. Bet the over and the odds are +105.