Episode five of the 2013 New York Jets regular season takes place in primetime as the team faces the Atlanta Falcons in a big Monday night game. This will not be an easy task, as the Jets will have to defeat a tough opponent in a hostile environment with the entire nation watching. Leaving the Georgia Dome as winners is possible through a few steps.
Shut down the high-powered passing attack: The good news for the Jets defense is that Steven Jackson will not play in this game. The bad news is that they will still have to face Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez. Even though the Jets have a very good defense, this will be a big challenge for them. If the Jets defense can play at the top of their game and destroy the passing game, then they will be on the right track to a victory. This means that not only will they have to bring pressure to Matt Ryan, but the secondary will have to put the Falcons’ talented receivers on lockdown. It is possible, but it is not easy.
Don’t give the ball away: It will be very important to not turn the ball over, especially against the Falcons in the Georgia Dome. The offense will have to hold on to the ball and keep their drives going. Turnovers have haunted the Jets in the first four games. They will be doomed if they give the Falcons extra opportunities at scoring. When Matt Ryan and company are on the field at home, it is very difficult to send them back to the sideline.
Geno must learn from past mistakes: Geno Smith has already had some big hits and misses in his very young NFL career. He has committed at least two turnovers every week so far. Smith enters Atlanta with eight interceptions and three lost fumbles, totaling up to 11 turnovers. It is time for him to learn from what he has been doing wrong and start progressing. The rookie quarterback will need to protect the ball when he is closing in on contact with Falcons defenders and read the defense carefully when passing the ball. Doing so will give the Jets a better chance of adding to the scoreboard and staying in the game.
Steer clear of penalties: After being flagged 20 times against the Buffalo Bills in week three, the Jets provoked the referees to throw the yellow flags ten times last week against the Tennessee Titans. If they have a repeat of either of last two games in terms of penalties, they are in trouble. Careless play will put them in a big hole that they may not be able to get out of. Discipline cannot be stressed enough.
Don’t let recent trends fool you: Yes, the Falcons are 1-3 and Matt Ryan has actually lost in the last minute three times this year. However, just because both occurrences are unusual compared to recent years does not mean that the Jets should take this game any lightly. The Falcons are way better than their record says, and Matt Ryan is still dangerous as the clock is running out and when he is playing in front of his home crowd. They will have to execute for 60 minutes and not be on their heels for any plays.
Some say this one could be over early. If the Jets stick to this plan, they have a great chance of pulling off an upset. A win over the Falcons at the Georgia Dome will not draw any conclusions on how well the Jets will finish the season, but it will show that they are capable of competing with some of the best talent in the NFL.
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