At 3-4, the New York Jets will be trying to save their season during this Sunday’s matchup against the struggling Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta has plenty of offensive firepower, making defensive strategy arguably the most important factor for New York.
Before the 2017 season, it was very debatable as to what level of play we’d see from the New York Jets’ defense. To this point in the season, they’ve been quite inconsistent, but they have plenty of time left to prove themselves.
In Week 8, they’ll be taking on an absolutely electric Atlanta Falcons offense. In order to contain Atlanta’s plethora of weapons, Jets‘ head coach, Todd Bowles, will need to devise an incredibly effective defensive strategy with the pieces he has at his disposal.
The first thing that Bowles and his defense will need to worry about is the Falcons’ group of running backs. Atlanta has a pair of explosive and versatile backs in perennial Pro-Bowler, Devonta Freeman, and his renowned backup, Tevin Coleman.
Bowles will first need to decide on how many players he’s going to have near the line of scrimmage in order to defend the run. If the Jets decide to put a greater amount of players in “the box” they’ll have a much better chance of containing both backs, but they’ll be sacrificing their defense of Atlanta’s high-octane aerial attack.
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Being Atlanta’s backs are versatile, New York will also have to worry about their receiving abilities. Will they decide to cover them with a linebacker or strong safety, Jamal Adams? The Jets have tried both of these methods in past weeks with varying success.
Speaking of linebackers and safeties in coverage, the Jets will also have to worry about up and coming tight end, Austin Hooper. Hooper’s become a very legitimate threat this season as he’s caught 18 passes for a solid 248 yards. If things go as they have in past weeks, it seems as if Hooper will see a lot of Adams.
On top of these concerns, the biggest concern regarding Atlanta’s offense is probably their receiving core. Of course, they have solid options in players such as Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel. However, Julio Jones is a nearly impossible cover, and he has the ability to put the entire offense on his shoulders.
While the Jets’ top cornerback, Morris Claiborne, has had a great season, it’s hard to believe that he’ll be able to handle Jones by himself. If the Jets decide to double-team with a safety though, they’ll have to sacrifice their coverage elsewhere. Bowles will specifically have to decide what role(s), free safety, Marcus Maye, will play on Sunday and that’ll be a tough call to make.
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The Jets certainly have a lot to think about in terms of defensive strategy for this week’s game. If they can’t make the right decisions and adjustments, they may get absolutely torched by Atlanta’s highly impressive arsenal of weapons.