The Atlanta Falcons had a psychological barrier to overcome last season. They had blown a huge lead in the Super Bowl to the New England Patriots, and lost their offensive coordinator to boot. We can't sit here and tell you that they were able to reach the same level of achievement in the 2017 campaign, but they did manage to get to the playoffs and win a road game in Los Angeles, before running out of luck against the eventual champion Eagles. 

Although they didn't get close to a playoff spot, the New York Jets overachieved last year, if you really wanted to put things into perspective. They had gotten rid of some of their veteran talent and were looking at a season with a journeyman quarterback. There were actually members of the New York press who wondered if they would win a game. Well, they did a lot better than that, winning five games and being eligible in several others. The quarterback situation was still something that had to be addressed, and they did that in the draft and with a free agent signing, not to mention holding onto that journeyman signal-caller who had a surprisingly good season. 


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These teams will get together for the pre-season opener on Friday night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. 

 

TV: 7:30 PM ET, NFL Network. LINE: Jets -2.5.  O/U: 34.5

 

ABOUT THE FALCONS: Interestingly enough, this is a team that scored 540 points in its Super Bowl season, and saw that figure dip all the way down to 353 last year. If you listen to some critics, they'll say it had an awful lot to do with Steve Sarkisian taking the offensive coordinator position from Kyle Shanahan, who became the head coach in San Francisco. Matt Ryan did not have the same kind of season, as he had just 20 touchdown passes and twelve interceptions. They lost wide receivers Andre Roberts and Taylor Gabriel but did spend a first-round draft pick on Calvin Ridley, in their continuing quest to find a worthy complement to Julio Jones. The backup quarterbacks, who will play a prominent role here, are veteran Matt Schaub (who was once the MVP of the Pro Bowl), Garrett Grayson and Kurt Benkert, the latter an undrafted free agent out of Virginia who may get a lot of second-half playing time. Head coach Dan Quinn takes great pride in the progress his defense has made, and he'll be looking to get something out of rookie Deadrin Senat, a third-round pick out of South Florida, as he tries to replace departed defensive tackle Dontari Poe. Linebacker Foye Oluokun, a sixth-round pick out of Yale, is also getting a long look playing at all the LB positions. The Falcons (10-6 SU, 7-9 ATS last year) are +150 to win the very competitive NFC South and priced at +1350 to win the Super Bowl. 



ABOUT THE JETS: The guy who is under the microscope is, of course, Sam Darnold, who was taken with the third pick in the draft. His time in camp has been limited, however, as he was late on coming together with management on his rookie contract. Josh McCown is the guy who is #1 on the depth chart, after 67% and a ratio of 18 TD's to just nine interceptions, but another guy drawing interest is Teddy Bridgewater, who has missed the better part of the last two seasons with a knee injury. Don't forget that he was a Pro Bowl QB for Minnesota prior to getting hurt. He feels as if he can compete for the starting spot. The secondary allowed just 59% completions to opposition quarterbacks, and safety Jamal Adams is a coming star. Trumaine Johnson is the new vet, having signed a big free agent contract in the off-season. The Jets' third-round draft pick, Nathan Shepherd, a defensive lineman who played Division II ball at Fort Hays State, is the only rookie who is #1 on the depth chart. Within a period of three days, linebacker Dylan Donahue, a fifth-round pick last season, has entered two guilty pleas to DUI charges, one of which took place in Montana and the other in the Lincoln Tunnel, and he is no doubt going to be suspended by the NFL. To what degree, we are not certain yet.  The Jets (5-11 SU, 8-6-2 ATS in 2017) are the longshot in the AFC East, priced at +1150 to win the division. And they are 125-1to win Super Bowl 53. 

 

EXTRA POINTS 

 

1. Matt Bryant, all of 43 years of age, will not play for the Falcons, so David Marvin, who was with national runner-up Georgia last season, will get a chance to handle the kicking duties. 

2. Andre Roberts, who caught one pass for the Falcons last year, has moved to the Jets as a free agent, and it looks as if he will handle punt and/or kick return duties, as he did with Atlanta. 

3. Atlanta's Dan Quinn has not been a winner in the pre-season as an NFL head coach, with a 5-7 straight-up and 4-8 ATS record. New York's Todd Bowles has been a little better, with 6-6 SU and 8-4 ATS marks. 

 

 

PREDICTION: Jets 21, Falcons 13

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Team Name

Starter
Jake Matthews Position: Left Tackle (LT)
De'Vondre Campbell Position: Linebacker (LB)
Deion Jones Position: Linebacker (LB)
Duke Riley Position: Linebacker (LB)
Austin Hooper Position: Tight End (TE)
Grady Jarrett Position: Defensive Tackle (DT)
Terrell McClain Position: Defensive Tackle (DT)
Reggie Davis Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Mohamed Sanu Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Keanu Neal Position: Strong Safety (SS)
Robert Alford Position: Cornerback (CB)
Desmond Trufant Position: Cornerback (CB)
Matt Ryan Position: Quarterback (QB)
Tevin Coleman Position: Runningback (RB)
Ricardo Allen Position: Free Safety (FS)
Brooks Reed Position: Defensive End (DE)
Derrick Shelby Position: Defensive End (DE)
Ricky Ortiz Position: Fullback (FB)
Wes Schweitzer Position: Right Guard (RG)
Ryan Schraeder Position: Right Tackle (RT)
Andy Levitre Position: Left Guard (LG)
Alex Mack Position: Center (C)
Substitution
Foyesade Oluokun Position: Linebacker (LB)
Emmanuel Ellerbee Position: Linebacker (LB)
Richard Jarvis Position: Linebacker (LB)
Emmanuel Smith Position: Linebacker (LB)
Anthony Winbush Position: Linebacker (LB)
Jonathan Celestin Position: Linebacker (LB)
Alex Gray Position: Tight End (TE)
Eric Saubert Position: Tight End (TE)
Logan Paulsen Position: Tight End (TE)
Troy Mangen Position: Tight End (TE)
Jaeden Graham Position: Tight End (TE)
Jon Cunningham Position: Defensive Tackle (DT)
Jacob Tuioti-Mariner Position: Defensive Tackle (DT)
Deadrin Senat Position: Defensive Tackle (DT)
Deante Burton Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Marvin Hall Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Justin Hardy Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Calvin Ridley Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Russell Gage Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Christian Blake Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Dontez Byrd Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Devin Gray Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Lamar Jordan Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Taj Williams Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Colby Pearson Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Daniel Brunskill Position: Offensive Tackle (OT)
Austin Pasztor Position: Offensive Tackle (OT)
Matt Gono Position: Offensive Tackle (OT)
Kendall Calhoun Position: Offensive Tackle (OT)
Leon McFadden Position: Cornerback (CB)
Brian Poole Position: Cornerback (CB)
Blidi Wreh-Wilson Position: Cornerback (CB)
Justin Bethel Position: Cornerback (CB)
Isaiah Oliver Position: Cornerback (CB)
David Marvin Position: Kicker (K)
Garrett Grayson Position: Quarterback (QB)
Matt Schaub Position: Quarterback (QB)
Kurt Benkert Position: Quarterback (QB)
Josh Harris Position: Long Snapper (LS)
Ito Smith Position: Runningback (RB)
Malik Williams Position: Runningback (RB)
Terrence Magee Position: Runningback (RB)
Justin Crawford Position: Runningback (RB)
Vic Beasley Jr. Position: Defensive End (DE)
J'Terius Jones Position: Defensive End (DE)
Takkarist McKinley Position: Defensive End (DE)
Mackendy Cheridor Position: Defensive End (DE)
Luke McNitt Position: Fullback (FB)
Matt Bosher Position: Punter (P)
Marcelis Branch Position: Safety (S)
Damontae Kazee Position: Safety (S)
Kemal Ishmael Position: Safety (S)
Secdrick Cooper Position: Safety (S)
Chris Lammons Position: Safety (S)
Tyson Graham Jr. Position: Safety (S)
J.C. Hassenauer Position: Center (C)
Jack Crawford Position: Defensive Linesman (DL)
Justin Zimmer Position: Defensive Linesman (DL)
Garrison Smith Position: Defensive Linesman (DL)
Jamil Douglas Position: Guard (G)
Ben Garland Position: Guard (G)
Sean Harlow Position: Guard (G)
Brandon Fusco Position: Guard (G)
Salesi Uhatafe Position: Guard (G)
Ron Parker Position: Defensive Back (DB)
Did not play
Julio Jones Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Ty Sambrailo Position: Offensive Tackle (OT)
Matt Bryant Position: Kicker (K)

Team Name

Starter
Brent Qvale Position: Left Tackle (LT)
Eric Tomlinson Position: Tight End (TE)
Robby Anderson Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Jermaine Kearse Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Jamal Adams Position: Strong Safety (SS)
Morris Claiborne Position: Cornerback (CB)
Trumaine Johnson Position: Cornerback (CB)
Josh McCown Position: Quarterback (QB)
Bilal Powell Position: Runningback (RB)
Doug Middleton Position: Free Safety (FS)
Lawrence Thomas Position: Fullback (FB)
Brian Winters Position: Right Guard (RG)
Brandon Shell Position: Right Tackle (RT)
James Carpenter Position: Left Guard (LG)
Spencer Long Position: Center (C)
Jordan Jenkins Position: Outside Linebacker (OLB)
Brandon Copeland Position: Outside Linebacker (OLB)
Mike Pennel Position: Defensive Linesman (DL)
Leonard Williams Position: Defensive Linesman (DL)
Nathan Shepherd Position: Defensive Linesman (DL)
Darron Lee Position: Inside Linebacker (ILB)
Avery Williamson Position: Inside Linebacker (ILB)
Substitution
Dylan Donahue Position: Linebacker (LB)
Obum Gwacham Position: Linebacker (LB)
Josh Martin Position: Linebacker (LB)
Neville Hewitt Position: Linebacker (LB)
Kevin Minter Position: Linebacker (LB)
Frankie Luvu Position: Linebacker (LB)
Anthony Wint Position: Linebacker (LB)
Neal Sterling Position: Tight End (TE)
Clive Walford Position: Tight End (TE)
Chad Hansen Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Tre McBride Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
ArDarius Stewart Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Lucky Whitehead Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Andre Roberts Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Charles D. Johnson Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Jonah Trinnaman Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Ben Ijalana Position: Offensive Tackle (OT)
Antonio Garcia Position: Offensive Tackle (OT)
Xavier Coleman Position: Cornerback (CB)
Derrick Jones Position: Cornerback (CB)
Darryl Roberts Position: Cornerback (CB)
Rashard Robinson Position: Cornerback (CB)
Terrell Sinkfield Position: Cornerback (CB)
Buster Skrine Position: Cornerback (CB)
Taylor Bertolet Position: Kicker (K)
Teddy Bridgewater Position: Quarterback (QB)
Sam Darnold Position: Quarterback (QB)
Thomas Hennessy Position: Long Snapper (LS)
Isaiah Crowell Position: Runningback (RB)
Trenton Cannon Position: Runningback (RB)
George Atkinson III Position: Runningback (RB)
Lachlan Edwards Position: Punter (P)
Terrence Brooks Position: Safety (S)
J.J. Wilcox Position: Safety (S)
Brandon Bryant Position: Safety (S)
Travis Swanson Position: Center (C)
Ben Braden Position: Offensive Linesman (OL)
Jonotthan Harrison Position: Offensive Linesman (OL)
Steve McLendon Position: Defensive Linesman (DL)
Xavier Cooper Position: Defensive Linesman (DL)
Folorunso Fatukasi Position: Defensive Linesman (DL)
Henry Anderson Position: Defensive Linesman (DL)
Mychealon Thomas Position: Defensive Linesman (DL)
Kendall Reyes Position: Defensive Linesman (DL)
Dakota Dozier Position: Guard (G)
Dakoda Shepley Position: Guard (G)
Dimitri Flowers Position: Flanker (FL)
Did not play
David Bass Position: Linebacker (LB)
Kevin Pierre-Louis Position: Linebacker (LB)
Jordan Leggett Position: Tight End (TE)
Chris Herndon Position: Tight End (TE)
Quincy Enunwa Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Charone Peake Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Terrelle Pryor Sr. Position: Wide Receiver (WR)
Kelvin Beachum Position: Offensive Tackle (OT)
Darius James Position: Offensive Tackle (OT)
Juston Burris Position: Cornerback (CB)
Jeremy Clark Position: Cornerback (CB)
Parry Nickerson Position: Cornerback (CB)
Elijah McGuire Position: Runningback (RB)
Thomas Rawls Position: Runningback (RB)
Lorenzo Mauldin Position: Safety (S)
Rontez Miles Position: Safety (S)
Kacy Rodgers Position: Safety (S)
Deon Simon Position: Defensive Linesman (DL)
Alex Balducci Position: Guard (G)

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