The New York Jets open their 2018 preseason campaign when they take on the Atlanta Falcons at the MetLife Stadium in Rutherford, New Jersey on Friday August 10, 2018.
The Jets had high expectations last season and they started out decently with a 3-2 record. But after week 5, New York won only two more games and they finished the 2017 season with a 5-11 record. The Jets would go on to miss the NFL Playoffs for the seventh straight season.
On the other hand, the Falcons opened the doors to their new stadium last season. Atlanta finished the season at 10-6 and had good wins over the Packers, Panthers, Seahawks and the Saints. The Falcons bagged a wildcard berth and defeated the Rams in their first playoff game. In the Divisional playoffs however, they faced the eventual Super Bowl winners Philadelphia Eagles and took a 10-15 loss.
Another Super Bowl Run?
After signing a five year contract extension worth $150M, Matt Ryan will return to the Falcons next season. Although his numbers dipped as compared to his 2016 stats, Matt Ryan still threw for a total of 4,095 yards last season with a touchdown to interception ratio of 20:12.
Aside from re-signing Ryan, the Falcons also agreed to a contract revision with Julio Jones. Jones had threatened not to join training camp unless his contract would be re-done. WIth Jones back playing wide receiver with Mohamed Sanu and the Falcons’ running game powered by Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, the Falcons are hopeful that they can make another Super Bowl run next season.
Rookie Calvin Ridley will have his first taste of NFL action in this game. The 26th overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft out of Alabama suffered a hamstring injury in training camp but has returned to the Falcons’ practices. Ridley is expected to make noticeable contributions to the Falcons next season and he is one of the players that we should watch out for on Friday.
Atlanta also addressed some concerns on their defense when they selected Isaiah Oliver in the second round and Deadrin Senat in the third round. Atlanta also picked Foyesade Oluokun in round six. Together with defensive mainstays Vic Beasley and Deion Jones, Atlanta’s defense is rich in talent.
Atlanta Falcons vs New York Jets 8/10/18
Odds: Falcons +174, Jets -199
Odds from SportsBetting.ag as of August 8, 2018
Optimistic About The Future
There’s a reason for Jets fans to be excited about the upcoming NFL season. New York drafted arguably the best quarterback in the 2018 NFL draft when they selected Sam Darnold from USC with the 3rd overall pick of the draft.
As a redshirt freshman last season, Darnold led USC to nine straight victories that culminated in winning the 2017 Rose Bowl. Likewise, he set several freshman records at USC before foregoing his last two years of college eligibility to enter the NFL draft.
Jets head coach Todd Bowles stated that Darnold will be their 3rd string quarterback but the highly touted rookie has taken first team reps in training camp. Darnold only signed with the team last week so he has a lot to catch up in camp. However, this being an exhibition game, Darnold is expected to see action in this match-up.
Robby Anderson had a breakout year last season with 63 receptions totalling 941 yards with 7 touchdowns. The former Temple star is expected to be the Jets’ top wide receiver this coming season. Jermaine Kearse, a free agent signee last year, also had a productive season with 65 catches for 810 yards with 5 touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Jets’ running game will get a boost with the acquisition of Isaiah Crowell who totalled 853 running yards last season.
The Jets strengthened their defense with by signing cornerback Trumaine Johnson from the Los Angeles Rams who will likely work opposite of Morris Claiborne. Johnson should help improve the Jets’ pass defense which was ranked only 21st in the NFL last season.
Since this is just their first preseason game, the Falcons are likely going to limit the minutes stars like Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman and keep them on the sidelines instead. Expect Matt Schaub, Garrett Grayson and Kurt Benkert to get the bulk of the minutes as the play caller for Atlanta.
On the other hand, we think that the Jets will use the game to play all three of their quarterbacks. Josh McCown, former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and Darnold will each get ample time to prove their worth. Having said that, New York will definitely have the advantage in the quarterback department since Matt Ryan could last just one play or two. Atlanta’s Benkert and Grayson have not yet played a single NFL regular season game.
The Jets have lost just once in their last 9 games at home and with better depth at the quarterback position and an improved running game with Isaiah Crowell, Bilal Powell and Thomas Rawls, the Jets are in a good position to win this one from a Falcons’ squad that will be looking to rest its stars perhaps more than anything else.
We’re picking the New York Jets to beat the Atlanta Falcons on 8/10/18.