The New York Jets travel to the Georgia Dome to play the Atlanta Falcons in this week's Monday Night Football matchup. The Jets are coming off a tough loss against the Tennessee Titans where turnovers and penalties proved costly. This week's game needs to be cleaner on both sides of the ball, especially against a high powered Falcons' offense.
After Friday's practice, the mood seemed light with Rex Ryan joking around with the media. He cracked a few jokes about Santonio Holmes' recent comments about passing the ball to himself. However, the Falcons are a great team with plenty of weapons on the offense. Despite their record, 1-3, Ryan knows that this cross-conference matchup will be a stiff challenge.
"We have about as tough a challenge as there is in the National Football League in this opponent's backyard," admitted Ryan. "I think their record might be 1-3, but their record at home is (35-4) since (Matt) Ryan took over at quarterback is more than impressive. So that's where our focus is and what's down the road or behind us isn't important right now. Every bit of our focus is on our opponent."
The Jets' focus will be on corralling Falcons' star receiver, Julio Jones. Stopping a player like Julio will be very difficult for the secondary.
"He does have everything, size (and) speed," said Ryan on what makes him so difficult to defend. "The thing I like about him most is how he competes for the ball. Then the run after the catch (ability), the kid has a lot of things going for him. I don't see a flaw in his game."
Keeping Atlanta out of the red zone is a hard task as well, but considering the Falcons; struggles inside 20-yard line, the Jets' secondary cannot sleep on future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez. The respect for the Falcons and Gonzalez are high from Ryan and company
"I think they (had) two games where they had a chance to win (with their final possession in the red zone) against New Orleans and New England and weren't able to punch it in," said Ryan. "But it gets tough down there. There are tighter windows and everything else. Obviously, they've got about as good a red zone guy in the history of the league at tight end, obviously, with (Tony) Gonzalez, and he still is that threat, certainly when you see how creative some people are being at some of the things they are doing to try to keep Gonzalez out of there in particular. It's tough down there. But I can tell you this - they get down there a bunch."
If Gang Green can contain Atlanta's high-octane passing attack, limit the turnovers and penalties, and stop the Falcons in the red zone, then they have a realistic shot of coming out of the Georgia Dome at 3-2 on the season.