Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.comWe at TJB love advanced statistics and have long been fans of Football Outsiders. Now that the season is underway, we’re going to take a look at the weekly opponents through the overall and unit rankings through the lens of Football Outsiders. Let’s take a look at how the Falcons are stacking up.
(As a heads up, negative percentages are good on defense, but bad on offense & specials)
Analysis: While a quick glance at this would lead one to think this is a dominant offense, the case is otherwise and much of it comes down to pass blocking. While Matt Ryan has only taken seven sacks in four games, the pressure that the offensive line is allowing is problematic and forcing plays to develop more quickly than the Falcons would like. Still, Matt Ryan is an efficient quarterback and he is doing his best to keep his team out of trouble by dumping the ball down to any of his running backs (Snelling has been the best at catching passes) or to future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez. Gonzalez might be losing a step, but he’s still one of the league’s five best tight ends in terms of pass catching. The Jets have shown signs of a dominant defense so far this year, but the problem looks like it could be that the Falcons are a team built to neutralize such a threat. If Ryan can get the ball off even under duress, the Jets pass-rush might be neutralized. The Jets should be prudent in their use of jail-break blitzes against Ryan, he’s the type of quarterback who knows how to take advantage of such situations. We believe the game will come down to how well the linebackers and safeties can do against the running backs and tight ends when isolated in the passing game, and whether or not Cromartie can keep up with the fleet-footed Julio Jones. Roddy White and Harry Douglas are going to get their yards, the Jets will need to weather those particular storms with players beyond Cromartie … the best thing the Jets can do to limit the second and third receivers are to get to Ryan first.
Pass Defense: 30.2% (27th)
Rush Defense: -9.3% (17th)
D-Line Ranking: Run 17th / Pass 30th
Analysis: Last week, the Jets played a sneaky good defense in the Titans. This week, the Jets get a much closer approximation of what the Bills put against the Jets in terms of the Falcons overall output. The Falcons haven’t proved great at turning the ball over or stopping many of their opponents so far this season. The strength of their defense is in the linebacking corps, but they’ve been decimated by injuries with their three opening day starters all ruled out. Des Trufant looks to be a solid player long-term, but between he and Robert McClain, Marty Mornhinweg should be able to find ways to get the Jets ailing receiving corps open all the same, Geno just needs to be judicious in his throws. While the Jets are going to have to run it up the gut, they would be wise to work outside runs into the mix, as well as plays to their receivers near the boundaries. Look for the Jets to get favorable matchups against the cornerbacks and try to get Geno to take advantage to the edges of field when possible. Expect Jeremy Kerley to be a major part of the gameplan on the outside.
Special Teams: 1.6% (11th)
Analysis: The Matt Bryant has the team’s most points (34) of the season by almost double the next player, but their kicking game has been shaky at times. Led by punter Matt Bosher, the Falcons excel in punting and coverage for that aspect … watch and see what the Jets can do to limit this aspect of the game for the Falcons to keep themselves out of bad field position like they were in last week.