The Jets & the Falcons had very different kinds of preseason openers. Atlanta has more work to do with the back end of its roster, but the Jets have to shore up the front line of their roster.
What We Know About The Coaches
Dan Quinn of the Falcons has a 1-0 record in the preseason after beating the Tennessee Titans last week. Todd Bowles of the Jets has an 0-1 record in the preseason after losing to the Detroit Lions last week. These coaches are both new to head coaching, so there’s really no point in trying to distinguish them at this stage of their careers.
The Jets are an absolute mess here. They don’t want Ryan Fitzpatrick, the projected starter, to get too much work in this week. It’s next week, game three of the preseason, which is the dress rehearsal for the regular season. The fourth game is for the number two man, and with Matt Flynn both injured and learning a new playbook after being picked off the scrap heap, the Jets will hope that Flynn can play a lot in that fourth game. This means that Bryce Petty and Jake Heaps will get a long look in this game. The Jets need to see what these guys are capable of before they give Fitzpatrick and Flynn their test drives in subsequent preseason games. Petty does not look ready at all, and frankly, none of the Jets’ quarterbacks look ready to begin with. The team barely dented the scoreboard a week ago in Detroit, and the loss of Geno Smith due to the sucker punch from a former teammate was as damaging as many around the organization had feared.
It almost doesn’t matter what the Falcons’ situation is in comparison to the Jets’ predicament, but Atlanta does have a better quarterback rotation. Sean Renfree, at the number three spot, led a tiebreaking fourth-quarter touchdown drive last week. He is pushing second-string T.J. Yates for the number two spot. That’s healthy competition which should enable all three quarterbacks – Matt Ryan being the starter – to play well in this game. Huge edge to Atlanta.
Team Depth & Rotations
The Falcons created a 17-0 lead with their first and second string players, so their third-string players are the focus this week. Running back Antone Smith got injured last week, so the running back rotation will be thin. The Falcons did not suffer major injuries on defense, though. They’re in relatively good shape.
The Jets need Jeremy Kerley and Chris Owusu, the number two receivers on the depth chart, to make plays in support of their quarterbacks. Zac Stacy, third on the depth chart at running back, needs to do something similar. All in all, Atlanta has less to be concerned about here.
Outlook & Pick
The Jets are just a total mess. Their offense does not seem to be in any kind of condition to produce right now, especially not if Atlanta’s first-string defense is as good as it was against Tennessee last week. Take Atlanta with your NFL picks this Friday.
NFL Pick: Falcons