Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- Falcons WR Mack Hollins (ankle) returned to a limited session Wednesday after missing the previous two games.
- Somewhat miraculously, Jets QB Aaron Rodgers (Achilles) returned to the practice field on Wednesday after tearing his Achilles three months ago. I would say he’s highly unlikely to play this week, but he was also highly unlikely to return to practice in under three months on what is a 5-to-6 month injury, at bare minimum.
- Jets RB Breece Hall is nursing a hamstring injury and was limited on Wednesday – I expect he plays on Sunday.
- The Falcons lead the league in rush rate over expectation (RROE) and are up against a Jets team facing the most rush attempts per game this season.
How atlanta Will Try To Win ::
The Falcons rank third in the league in rush attempts per game (32.0) and lead the league in RROE. They are now playing the team facing the most rush attempts per game (33.2). It should come as no surprise that we fully expect Atlanta to lean into the run game at extreme rates in this spot. A defense allowing 321.1 yards of offense per game (14th) and, more importantly, keeping opponents out of the end zone (third-ranked 38.24 percent red-zone touchdown rate allowed) has allowed the Falcons to continue to utilize this ultra-conservative offense that aims to shorten games. At just 19.4 points scored per game, it’s not like this team is setting out to set the world on fire as much as inch towards victories on their own terms. Their 5-6 record should highlight how effective that plan has been for them this season, backed up by them hilariously leading the NFC South division with both a losing record and while being outscored by 19 points this year. Even so, they lead the NFC South division through two-thirds of the NFL season, so it’s difficult to be overly critical of their seemingly antiquated methods.
Speaking of their ground-and-pound attack, rookie running back Bijan Robinson has been in this undulating role that has bounced around between “lead back” and “tick below bellcow” status all season. On the whole, he has seen just 50.6 percent of the team’s running back opportunities, which breaks down to 12.8 carries and 4.3 targets per game, both well below elite levels. Even so, he ranks eighth in the league with 703 rush yards, has run the most routes of any back in the league, and has a solid-yet-unspectacular 15.3 percent team target market share (sixth). Furthermore, two of his three highest workload games have come his last two times out, seeing 24 opportunities against the Cardinals in Week 10 and 22 opportunities against the Saints in Week 12 (bye in Week 11). He also ranks sixth in juke rate and 12th in yards per touch this season. We would ideally love to see more consistent volume for his inflated salary, but his per-touch efficiency keeps him in the discussion even without elite volume, and a player like that always carries immense ceiling on the offhand chance the volume begins to come around, which it appears possible is happening now. Running back Tyler Allgeier, fullback Keith Smith, and utility knife Cordarrelle Patterson remain annoyingly involved, each seeing around 30 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in each of the previous two games. The matchup on the ground is more unimposing than elite, with the bulk of the damage done against the Jets this season coming purely from volume. The Jets cede middling values in yards allowed per carry (4.3) and yards allowed before contact (1.27) this year.
Quarterback Desmond Ridder was the fantasy value black-hole starter that was, then wasn’t, then was again for the Falcons, soaking up a frustrating amount of fantasy value on the ground through four rushing scores while not truly supporting a single pass-catcher throughout his eight starts this season. Even so, the team has seemingly re-committed to him as the team’s starting quarterback after Taylor Heinicke entered the discussion due to injury but then suffered an injury of his own. From a top-level perspective, this is a team that runs extreme rates of 12-personnel, which makes sense considering their enthrallment with the run game. From a micro perspective, Drake London is the only pass-catcher playing even a near every-down role for this offense while tight end Kyle Pitts has seen a 70 percent snap rate or higher in just three games this season. Before missing two games with injury, Hollins had lost his hold on a near every-down role at wide receiver, instead sharing the WR2 role with KhaDarel Hodge, Van Jefferson and Scotty Miller. And then there’s the matchup against a Jets defense holding opponents to 5.4 net pass yards per attempt with 13 pass touchdowns allowed to 12 interceptions.