The Jets (3-4) vs. the Atlanta Falcons (3-3) at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Sunday, Oct. 29, at 1 p.m. ET.
In a word? Ick. It will rain and it will rain hard (you know, assuming the forecasts are correct) and the wind will be 15-25 mph with stronger gusts. The temperatures will be in the mid-60s, which seems comfortable if you overlook the windy and wet part.
Coverage on SNY:
- Jets Pre-Game Live at noon
- Jets Halftime Live on Facebook.com/SNY
- Jets Post-Game Live on SNY immediately following the game
- Jets Post-Game Overtiime on SNY.tv immediately following Post-Game Live
WHAT IT MEANS
It's hard to state what it would mean for this Jets team to be 4-4 halfway through the season when so many people thought they'd be 0-8 (with an upside of 2-6 … maybe). The schedule in the second half of the season is going to get much, much tougher (particularly after their bye). A .500 record would surely be a confidence boost, even if it doesn't help them avoid a seemingly inevitable spiral the rest of the way. It would also show something if they were able to stop the bleeding from two straight heartbreaking losses in games they threw away. It would prove they were tougher and more resilient than a lot of people think. If they lose a third straight, though, and fall to 3-5? Well, all is not lost, but it's probably a sign that that inevitable downward spiral has already begun and we may get to the Christian Hackenberg era a little sooner than it seemed a few weeks ago.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson. It seemed a week ago that Wilkerson was beginning to coast toward his inevitable divorce from the Jets in March and Todd Bowles was even entertaining the idea of sitting him for a week so his shoulder and toe injuries could get a chance to heal. Then he changes the narrative by having his best game of the season in Miami with an interception, four tackles and even a little bit of now-rare pressure on the quarterback. Is this the beginning of a revival? It sure would be nice for the Jets if it was, because as disappointing as the Falcons' passing attack has been this season it is still loaded with dangerous weapons. If Wilkerson -- not to mention defensive end Leonard Williams -- can force Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan to rush a few of his throws, or if they can actually bring him down, that could go a long way toward giving the Jets a chance.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Jets CB Morris Claiborne vs. Falcons WR Julio Jones. This hasn't been Jones' finest season so far, but he easily remains one of the best receivers in the NFL, and this matchup sure must look juicy to him. The Jets' corners have been spotty at best and prone to a few breakdowns in every game. That's really dangerous against a player like Jones, who has an explosive combination of size and speed. But Claiborne has played pretty well overall, and teams have generally avoided throwing in his direction. The Falcons probably will too, especially with Buster Skrine (concussion) out, but they won't be able to keep Jones away from Claiborne the entire game.
During the Falcons' three-game losing streak, Jones hasn't really gotten on track. Even last week against the Patriots, when he had nine catches for 99 yards and a touchdown, more than half of that damage came in the final nine minutes with the Falcons already in a 23-0 hole. If Claiborne can keep Jones at least partially contained, the Falcons offense will struggle as it has for the last month and the Jets will have a chance. If Jones breaks out, this could turn out to be a long afternoon. Oh, and it's also worth noting that when it comes to this matchup, it looks like the Jets will have the weather on their side (see above).
The Jets had the Patriots where they wanted them early and blew it. Then they had the Dolphins where they wanted them late and blew it. (And boy, does that loss look bad now after the beating Miami took from the Ravens on Thursday night.) Now they face the Falcons, who probably have more talent than both of those teams (although the last three games aren't the best example of that). The weather could be an equalizer here, but other than that this is a terrible matchup. The Falcons simply have too many offensive weapons to be contained by a Jets defense that has been very up-and-down. And they have a good-enough defense to cause problems for the Jets, especially if quarterback Josh McCown is as careless with the ball as he's been the last few weeks.
Yes, there does seem to be something wrong with the Falcons offense now that their former offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, is in San Francisco. And there's always the chance that their problems will continue as they play their fourth straight game against the AFC East. But they have far too many weapons to stay down for this long. The odds seem to favor a breakthrough of Ryan, Jones and Devonta Freeman. Again, the wet and windy weather could keep this game close and low-scoring which would give the Jets a chance. But in miserable conditions, bet on the talent-rich Falcons team, not a young Jets team that has been too sloppy in big spots. … Falcons 27, Jets 16.
MY RECORD: 4-3
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING JETS TO WIN: 2-2
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING JETS TO LOSE: 2-1