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Falcons look to end losing skid Monday vs. Jets
By: Zach Cohen - StatFox
Published: 10/7/2013  at  5:07:00 AM
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NEW YORK JETS (2-2)
at ATLANTA FALCONS (1-3)

Kickoff: Monday, 8:40 p.m. ET
Line: Atlanta -9, Total: 44

The Falcons look to get back on track when the Jets come to town on Monday night.

Atlanta was unable to beat the Patriots Sunday night, losing 30-23 and falling to 1-3 on the year. The Jets also came away empty-handed in Week 4, as they were destroyed on the road against the Titans, 38-13. Since 1995, the Falcons are 3-1 (SU and ATS) against the Jets producing double-digit wins in each home meeting. The last matchup between these teams was a 10-7 win-and-cover in favor of the Falcons in December 2009 in New Jersey. Both teams are staring at negative trends for this game. Over the past two seasons, the Jets are 0-8 ATS off of 1 or more overs in a row, and are also 31-55 ATS (36%) off of a road loss since 1992. Atlanta, however, is 15-31 ATS (33%) in home games after playing a game at home since 1992 and is 3-17 ATS (15%) after gaining 375 or more total yards in two consecutive games during that span. The Jets are going to be without top WR Santonio Holmes (hamstring), while top TE Kellen Winslow is questionable with a knee injury. The Falcons must continue to run without their star RB Steven Jackson, who is out for another two weeks with a hamstring injury.

Can the Falcons cover the huge spread on Monday night? For the answer, connect to NFL Best Bets for all the StatFox Experts picks throughout the 2013 season and playoffs. The experts are coming off a monster Week 4 in NFL Best Bets, combining for a 67% ATS record (10-5-2), highlighted by StatFox Gary's perfect 4-0-1 ATS mark. StatFox Scott was a perfect 5-0 in NFL Totals, increasing his season record to 69% (11-5). Gary went 3-1 in NFL Totals, which actually lowered his yearly percentage to 77% (10-3).

The Jets are now 2-2 SU (3-1 ATS) after suffering a beatdown against the Titans in which Jake Locker threw all over their defense before going down with a hip injury. New York rookie QB Geno Smith followed up his best performance of the year with a subpar outing, as he went 23-of-34 for 289 yards, 1 TD and 2 INT. In his two road games, Smith has thrown 1 TD and 5 INT. Smith also lost two fumbles in the game, including a truly bone-headed one where he tried to put the ball behind his own back to avoid a pass rusher. RB Bilal Powell played well in the game for New York, rushing for 66 yards on 14 carries while also catching three passes for 42 yards. After gaining just 3.1 YPC in his first two games, Powell has averaged a stellar 5.2 YPC over his past two contests. TE Kellen Winslow was the Jets’ leader in the receiving game with six catches for 73 yards, and he and WR Stephen Hill will likely be Smith's top targets with the injury to WR Santonio Holmes. New York’s defense struggled to stop the Titans, but the offense didn’t help them by giving the Titans good field position all game. The Jets D has really played well all season, leading the NFL with 14 first downs per game allowed and placing second in the league in total defense (283 total YPG, 4.3 yards per play allowed) and yards per carry (3.0 YPC). But it all starts with Smith having to play mistake-free football if the Jets are to have a chance to keep this game close against the Falcons.

Atlanta nearly pulled out an amazing win on Sunday night, trailing 30-13 with less than five minutes to play and giving itself a chance to tie the game when a fourth down pass from the Patriots 10-yard-line fell incomplete. Falcons QB Matt Ryan threw plenty of passes in this game trying to bring his team back from a large deficit, as he went 34-for-54 for 421 yards, 2 TD and 1 INT. He now has 1,330 passing yards (7.7 YPA), 8 TD and 3 INT on the year and will be asked to throw a lot without top RB Steven Jackson and due to the Jets' run defense being so difficult to gain yards on. TE Tony Gonzalez finally turned in the performance Atlanta fans have been waiting for with 12 receptions for 149 yards and 2 TD versus New England. He entered the game with just 11 catches for 93 yards and 1 TD in his first three games combined. WR Julio Jones had 108 yards on six catches in last week's loss, but outside of one 49-yard play, Patriots CB Aqib Talib did a pretty good job shutting the superstar down. Jones leads the NFL with 481 receiving yards, including 218 yards after catch (2nd in league), but WR Roddy White (high ankle sprain) is getting healthier each week and was able to play on 74 of 76 offensive snaps last Sunday. With six straight seasons of 80+ catches and 1,150+ yards, White is expected to give this offense another boost. Where the Falcons really struggled in Week 4 was in the running game where they got just 58 yards combined from RBs Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling on 15 carries (3.9 YPC). For the season, Atlanta ranks 23rd in the NFL in rushing offense (82 YPG), despite a strong 4.4 yards per carry (11th in league). Defensively, the Falcons have done an excellent job stopping the run (92 YPG, 6th in NFL), but have been burned for 301 passing YPG (7th-most in league). That is a big reason why opponents have 6.1 yards per play against them, the fourth-most in the NFL. Injuries to CB Asante Samuel (thigh) and LB Akeem Dent (ankle) are not helping the cause. Both players are listed as questionable for Monday night.

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