Struggling Falcons look for turnaround vs Jets Print
Written by Admin   
Sunday, 06 October 2013 09:10
NFL Headline News

 ATLANTA (AP) - The Atlanta Falcons are hurting - on the field and in the standings.
There's not much they can do about the injuries.
If they don't start winning, they can forget about those Super Bowl hopes as well.
The Falcons (1-3) are two games below .500 for the first time in the Matt Ryan era and mired in their first losing streak since 2009 going into Monday night against the New York Jets.
``There's certainly a sense of urgency,'' said Ryan, in his sixth season as Atlanta's quarterback. ``We haven't started the way we wanted, but we understand it's a long season.''
The Falcons have been rocked by injuries in the opening month. Defensive end Kroy Biermann is out for the year. Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon will miss at least half the season. Running back Stephen Jackson is sidelined for the third straight game with a hamstring injury. Offensive tackle Sam Baker (knee) and linebacker Akeem Dent (ankle) won't play against the Jets, either.
But every team must cope with injuries to some extent, the Jets (2-2) among them.
No one is going to give the Falcons a pass just because they're not at full strength, especially when it's clearly a Super Bowl-or-bust season.
``This is a good game for us to get our ship righted, and get this thing going in the right direction,'' safety Thomas DeCoud said.
The red zone has been the biggest problem.
Atlanta's offense ranks 29th in the league in touchdown percentage from inside the opponent's 20-yard line. Last week's 30-23 loss to New England was especially troubling, as the Falcons produced only one touchdown with six red-zone possessions. They settled for three field goals and were stopped two other times on fourth down, the last of those coming in the final minute when they had a chance to force overtime.
``It's not just one area, not just one group,'' coach Mike Smith said. ``We had some protection issues. We had some routes that weren't run right. We had some drops. We had some missed throws. I can assure you we are addressing it as a coaching staff with our team.''
Injuries have definitely limited the offense when opponents have less ground to cover. With Jackson out and the line shaky, the Falcons aren't much of a threat to score touchdowns with their running game. Receiver Roddy White has been slowed by a slow-healing ankle sprain, allowing coverages to focus on the other receiver, Julio Jones, and tight end Tony Gonzalez.
``Guys start doubling me in the red zone a lot, and sometimes three guys will be on me,'' Jones said.
The Jets have dealt with plenty of injuries to their receivers, though they should be bolstered this week by the return of Stephen Hill from a concussion. Santonio Holmes is still out with foot and hamstring problems.
No matter who's running the routes, Geno Smith must do a better job protecting the football.
The rookie quarterback shares the NFL lead with 11 turnovers, including eight interceptions. He was picked off twice and lost two fumbles, leading to 28 points, in last week's 38-13 rout by the Titans.
``We want to be aggressive,'' coach Rex Ryan said. ``But you don't want to do something to the detriment of your football team. Clearly, turning the football over has been a real problem.''
The Jets addressed the issue in practice, having defenders try to strip the ball away from Smith anytime they got a hand on him. Also, the coaches worked with the quarterback on holding the ball with two hands in the pocket, along with using a more secure grip when he takes off running.
Now, Smith has to take those lessons to the game.
``I'm really emphasizing taking care of the ball,'' Smith said. ``It comes with just preparation, knowing what you're seeing, knowing when you have an opportunity to take a chance down the field.''
The Falcons know it's far too early to raise the white flag.
Twenty-two teams have made the postseason after 1-3 starts under the current playoff format. But the Falcons already trail unbeaten New Orleans by three games in the NFC South and will merely be playing for a wild card if they fall much farther behind the Saints.
``It's still early and we've still got a lot of key guys out,'' Jones said. ``When we find our stride and get this thing rolling, we'll be OK.''
---
Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963
---
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
 

NFL Team Pages

Top NFL Public Bets

#1 480 Kansas City Chiefs 86%
#2 485 San Francisco 49ers 85%
#3 491 San Diego Chargers 81%
#4 488 Denver Broncos 73%
#5 475 Buffalo Bills 72%
#6 463 New Orleans Saints 72%
#7 490 Detroit Lions 65%
#8 468 Pittsburgh Steelers 65%
#9 484 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 64%
#10 469 Jacksonville Jaguars 64%
View All: NFL |  NBA |  NCAAF |  NCAAB |  MLB |  NHL

NFL Futures

NFL TEAM CONFERENCE ODDS CURRENT
DENVER BRONCOS 9/4
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 3/1
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 15/4
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS 4/1
GREEN BAY PACKERS 15/2
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS 8/1
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS 8/1
CHICAGO BEARS 10/1
PITTSBURGH STEELERS 12/1
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 14/1
View All

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Contact Us | Advertising | 888-99-SPREAD

THIS IS NOT A GAMBLING SITE – If you think you have a gambling problem click here.

Disclaimer: This site is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Individual users are responsible for the laws regarding accessing gambling information from their jurisdictions. Many countries around the world prohibit gambling, please check the laws in your location. Any use of this information that may violate any federal, state, local or international law is strictly prohibited.

Copyright: The information contained on TheSpread.com website is protected by international copyright and may not be reproduced, or redistributed in any way without expressed written consent.

About: TheSpread.com is the largest sports betting news site in the United States. We provide point spread news, odds, statistics and information to over 199 countries around the world each year. Our coverage includes all North American College and Professional Sports as well as entertainment, political and proposition wagering news.

©1999-2013 TheSpread.com