Atlanta Falcons (3-3 SU, 2-4 ATS, 2-4 O/U) vs. New York Jets (3-4 SU, 4-2-1 ATS, 3-4 O/U)
NFL: Sunday, October 29, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. EST
The Line: Atlanta Falcons -4.5. Total: 46.5.
The Atlanta Falcons will be hoping to halt a three-game losing streak when they visit the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Atlanta is coming off consecutive setbacks at the hands of Buffalo, Miami, and New England. The Jets had won three in a row before falling to New England and Miami.
Insult to injury, or vice versa
The Falcons have been banged up this season, although injuries alone cannot come anywhere close to explaining their nosedive since starting 3-0. Atlanta is now 3-3 following a trio of losses to AFC East foes and now it is set for a fourth consecutive contest against such competition (the Jets currently stand in last place in that division at 3-4). In last week’s 23-7 loss to the Patriots, rookie linebacker Duke Riley suffered a torn meniscus that will require surgery. Riley’s timetable for a return is unclear, although it typically takes four weeks on the heels of this type of procedure. The third-round pick out of LSU started five of the first six games this season at weakside linebacker.
Riley’s absence could mean more playing time for converted strong safety Kemal Ishmael. The Falcons may also activate LaRoy Reynolds from injured reserve as he prepares to return in the aftermath of a chest injury. Atlanta is also brining back linebacker Sean Weatherspoon for a third stint with the team. The oft-injured Weatherspoon was a first-round selection by the Falcons in 2010.
Better than expected
By no means is Josh McCown the future in New York. After all, the Jets’ current starting quarterback is 38 years old. But the future won’t be now, because the Jets are still in contention in a crowded AFC East even at 3-4 and McCown is playing well–thus relegating younger backup quarterbacks to the sidelines for a prolonged learning curve. The former Sam Houston State standout performed admirably once again in Week 7, but the day turned into a disaster when New York was outscored by Miami 17-0 in the fourth quarter and the Dolphins prevailed 31-28. McCown completed 17 of 27 passes for 209 yards with three touchdowns and one interception while also rushing for a score. But the pick proved costly. After Miami tied the game at 28-28, the Jets decided to be aggressive inside of their own territory in hopes of going down the field for a winning score. McCown was picked off at his own 23-yard line and the Dolphins promptly booted a clinching field goal.
“[Head coach Todd Bowles] puts his trust in us to go down and execute and get that done, and we let him down,” McCown admitted. “We’ve got to be a better team than that. If we’re gonna be the team we want to be, we have to make that next step.”
The Atlanta Falcons are:
- 2-5 ATS in their last seven overall
- 4-11 ATS in their last 15 games following a loss
- 0-5 ATS in their last five October games
The New York Jets are:
- 4-0-1 ATS in their last five overall
- 4-0 ATS in their last four home games
- 4-0 ATS in their last four games on fieldturf
McCown is completing almost 70 percent of his passes this season and has thrown 10 touchdown passes. In two of the Jets’ wins and in their loss to Miami this past weekend, the veteran compiled a quarterback rating better than 100. For the Falcons, meanwhile, Matt Ryan is not exactly on his way to another MVP season. He has been picked off six times after throwing just seven INTs throughout the entirety of 2016. Atlanta is 2-5 ATS in its last seven overall, 4-11 ATS in its last 15 following a loss, and 0-5 ATS in its last five in October. The Jets are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five overall, 4-0 ATS in their last four at home, 4-0 ATS in their last four on fieldturf, and 5-0-1 ATS in their last six in October. Expect those trends to continue.
Pick: New York Jets +4.5
The 2016 Falcons’ offense is not walkin’ through that door–at least not yet. Atlanta has not scored more than 17 points in any of its last three games. Ryan passed for a season-low 233 yards against New England and Falcons’ running backs combined for just 83 yards (including a five-yard loss by receiver Taylor Gabriel on a fourth-and-goal play). The under is 17-6 in the Falcons’ last 23 following a loss, 11-5-1 in their last 17 in October, 6-0 in their last six after scoring less than 15 points in their previous outing, and 13-5 in their last 18 after allowing more than 150 rushing yards in their previous outing. It is also 8-3-1 in the Jets’ last 12 following a loss, 4-1 in their last five on fieldturf, and 6-0 in their last six after allowing more than 30 points in their previous outing. Look for this one to stay under the total.