Jets at Falcons Week 5 pick and prediction
Sunday, 9:30 a.m.
Spread: Falcons -2 1/2
For one wonderful half of football (and a bit of overtime) the Jets appeared like an actually appealing group last Sunday. Never ever mind that the Tennessee Titans lacked their leading 2 receivers or that the Jets’ offense left to another sluggish start. That 2nd half was whatever.
Now the Jets have a genuine opportunity to keep that momentum rolling.
They are dealing with an actually bad Falcons group on Sunday, one that is having a hard time on offense and defense and utilizes an aging quarterback who will lack his leading receiver (Calvin Ridley) in this video game. On top of that, the Jets prevent playing a real “road” video game given that rather of going to the Georgia Dome (or whatever it’s called now) they’ll be on neutral grass at Tottenham Hotspur Arena in London.
Weird things have happened in the London games over the years, but the Jets won’t need to rely on weirdness to win this one.
First, the Falcons’ offense does have some potentially dangerous elements. Cordarrelle Patterson has turned into quite a weapon for them. And rookie tight end Kyle Pitts was one of the most exciting prospects in the draft back in April. He could be hard to stop if the Falcons ever figure out how to use him correctly.
So far, though, their offense has been a big, fat nothing. Quarterback Matt Ryan hasn’t been terrible, but he’s not even averaging 250 yards per video game – a tribute to an offense filled with short passes and not a whole lot of looks downfield. That doesn’t figure to change much without Ridley and against a Jets defense that was excellent against the receiver-depleted Titans last week.
Even if the defense keeps the score manageable – which seems likely – this game for the Jets will still rest in the same place that every game rests this season: On the shoulders and arm of rookie quarterback Zach Wilson. If he’s the dazzling kid he was in the second half last Sunday, the Jets will win. If he’s the four-interception mess he was against the New England Patriots two weeks earlier, they won’t.
He’ll probably fall somewhere in between, however I think he’s got a chance to lean more towards the dazzling side. He’ll get rookie receiver Elijah Moore back this week, which gives him a decent array of weapons to work with. And now that Wilson has shown how hazardous he could be, the Falcons defense won’t be able to just load up the line of scrimmage. In other words, there’s a chance the Jets’ running game could even get going this week.
It’s hard to bank on all that given how young the Jets are. Rookie quarterbacks, as everyone has actually said a million times this season, are up and down. They often follow their most dazzling displays with mind-boggling breakdowns. But for this video game, versus a bad team in a neutral spot, it’s easy to see how Wilson and the Jets can ride the wave of momentum.
At least a little bit. Enough to make them feel good about themselves heading into their bye.
Pick: Jets 20, Falcons 16
Prediction: Take the Jets, plus the 2 1/2
My record straight up: 3-1
My record versus the spread: 2-2
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.