The first week of the NFL Preseason kicks off this weekend, and the Atlanta Falcons travel to New York to take on the Jets. Both teams will be getting their first taste of live game action on Friday night, and the game figures to be a little sloppy. Neither team is expected to play their starters for more than one quarter in this game.
The Atlanta Falcons were a playoff team last season, sneaking into the NFC playoffs as the six seed. Atlanta was able to knock off the Rams in the Wild Card round, and they should factor into the playoff mix again this season. The New York Jets went 5-11 last season, and don’t appear to be much improved heading into this season. The Falcons are +3.5 against the Jets in this game.
Falcons Looking For More Offense in 2018
The Atlanta Falcons hope to have a more explosive offense this season. Atlanta drafted Calvin Ridley (Alabama) with their first round draft pick to give quarterback Matt Ryan another weapon on the outside. Julio Jones also returns this season for Atlanta, but the Falcons must find a way to get the Jones into the end zone more this season. Jones scored just three touchdowns this season, and the Falcons need more production from their star receiver.
The Falcons feature a talented and veteran defense, and they should have their way with the Jets on Friday night. Atlanta was a top ten defense in most defensive categories last season, and are great at putting pressure on the quarterback. The Jets will be auditioning a slew of quarterbacks in the preseason opener, and facing the Falcons defense won’t be an easy task.
Jets Must Find a Starting QB
The biggest question for the New York Jets this season is determining who will be their starting quarterback this season. The Jets selected USC product Sam Darnold with the third overall pick in the 2018 draft, and he should start at some point this season. The Jets also re-signed Josh McCown, and brought in Teddy Bridgewater from the Minnesota Vikings. All three players should get reps in the preseason opener against the Falcons.
Head coach Todd Bowles has plenty of question marks on the defensive side of the ball as well. All reports are that the Jets have been getting great performance and competition from their defense early in camp, but it remains to be seen what they will look like against a top offense like the Falcons. Look for the Jets defense to struggle in the preseason opener.
Falcons Win Ugly Affair
The first week of the preseason is a chance for teams to iron out some kinks and expose areas of weakness. At this stage, the Jets appear to have many more weaknesses than the Atlanta Falcons and that will show up on Friday night this week.
The Falcons have their sights set on the playoffs in 2018, while the Jets will be trying to trend in the right direction after a few rough years. The Jets get a small edge by playing at home in this game, but it won’t matter. Look for the Falcons +3.5 to win the game outright.
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