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What Is the Formula for the Jets to Snap Their Skid vs. Falcons?

Bijan Robinson Leads NFL's No. 4 Rushing Attack; Green & White Need to Find Rhythm on Offense


Throughout the offseason, reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg, Randy Lange, Caroline Hendershot and John Pullano will give their responses to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.

Today's question: What is the formula for the Jets to snap their skid vs. Falcons?

EA: The Jets win this game if they get 2 takeaways and reach 20 points. The Falcons are averaging 19.4 pts/g but on the road that number dips to 15 pts/g. Atlanta has a formidable rush attack paired with an aggressive defense, but I'm always leery of a team that plays indoors traveling to the Northeast in December. To date, the Falcons (5-6) have played eight games inside and the temperatures at kickoff for their London game vs. the Jaguars, their battle with the Bucs in Tampa and then a tussle with the Titans in Tennessee were 72 degrees, 79 degrees and 77 degrees, respectively. Temperatures are predicted to be in the 40s Sunday with rain in the forecast. The Falcons might be tied for first place in the NFC South, but this is a club that is 1-4 on the road. The Jets had 3 takeaways against the Dolphins and now are tied for seventh with 19. The Falcons are tied for 21st in giveaways with 18. While Desmond Ridder is fourth among QBs with 14 giveaways, he has no interceptions in six of seven career road starts.  The Birds will try to wear down the Jets on the ground with Bijan Robinson, Tyler Allgeier and Cordarrelle Patterson. But with Mekhi Becton expected to be back in the lineup plus a possible Wes Schweitzer return, perhaps Breece Hall gets unleashed for the home club.

EG: The formula for the Jets has been what it's always been – win the battle in the trenches, particularly on offense. The Jets haven't been able to muster much on the ground and ranked last in the league in rushing yards per game from Weeks 8-12. They ranked No. 12 in Weeks 1-7. If the offensive line receives a boost with Mekhi Becton and Wes Schweitzer potentially back in the lineup, maybe that'll provide both RB Breece Hall and QB Tim Boyle a chance to improve their play. Defensively, the Jets need to stop the run. Atlanta has the league's fourth-best rushing attack, led by the No. 8 overall pick out of Texas in Bijan Robinson, who ranks eighth in the NFL with 703 rushing yards. The Green & White, conversely, have the second-worst run defense. If the Jets can contain Robinson & Co., I like their chances on defense. Falcons QB Desmond Ridder has won 1 road game this season and has thrown for a total of 1 touchdown and 2 picks away from home. The Jets have the corners to hold up on the outside and devote more attention to the run game.

RL: The formula on each side of the line of scrimmage starts with better third-down production. QB Tim Boyle seemed upbeat about the offense converting two straight on fourth down followed by five consecutive third-down conversions in the fourth quarter vs. Miami. That may have been related to the Dolphins easing their foot off gas just a little but maybe that was a little jump start the O needed. Better third-down conversions from the offense keep the defense off the field, as does better third-down play by the defense (11 conversions by the Dolphins the most yielded by the Jets at home since New England in 2012). And that,as I laid out in Thursday's story on Sauce Gardner, can revitalize the D while giving the offense confidence that it can move the ball and score multiple touchdowns. Mix in a few explosive plays for Boyle & Co. (no 20-yards-plus scrimmage plays the past two games) and some takeaways from Gardner's U. of Cincinnati BFF Desmond Ridder, add a dash of A-Rod inspiration, and this could be a winning recipe.

CH: The key for the Jets to snap their losing streak, particularly against the Falcons this Sunday, is stopping the run. The Jets are going up against a rushing offense that ranks fourth in the NFL led by rookie running back Bijan Robinson. Robinson leads the Falcons with 703 yards on 141 carries, 3 touchdowns, and averages 5 yards per rush attempt. He ranks eighth in the NFL in both rush yards and yards per carry and will be going up against a Jets rush defense that ranks 31st in the NFL. Robinson also has back-to-back games with 15-plus carries and 90-plus rush yards, so if the Jets want to win this game, their focus needs to be on stopping Robinson. As for the offense, the key for the Jets is to find a consistent rhythm. They found that rhythm last week at the beginning of the fourth quarter when they were running a hurry-up offense. QB Tim Boyle said "I enjoyed it and I think our offense does a good job of moving the ball when we're in no huddle so I think we should continue to do that." We'll see what the Jets offense is able to do on Sunday, but this will be a big test for the Jets defense.

JP: The common thread through the Jets four victories this season has been their ability to stop the run and force teams to throw against the league's No. 6 ranked pass defense (yards allowed), which will be key again when the Green & White host the NFC South leading Falcons. In the Jets wins, they have held their opponent under 100 yards on the ground twice and forced 11 turnovers in the four games. During the team's four-game skid, they have allowed 132.3 rushing yards per game. Correcting those issues and slowing the ground attack won't get easier against Atlanta. The Jets Week 13 opponent ranks No. 4 in NFL in rush yards (139.3 yards per game) and its rush attack is anchored by dynamic and elusive RB Bijan Robinson, the No. 8 pick in April's 2023 NFL Draft. Robinson leads the team with 703 yards rushing and 6 all-purpose TDs in 11 games. For the Jets to get back to their winning ways, it will start by slowing the Falcons ground game and forcing QB Desmond Ridder, who has struggled this season throwing 7 touchdowns and 8 interceptions in 10 games, to be effective against All-Pro CB Sauce Gardner and CB D.J. Reed.

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