Week 5 Game of the Week: Atlanta Falcons vs New York Jets

Photo credit: Marianne O'Leary via Flickr

The Ninety-Nine Yards team are back with us here at Belushi’s for week five of NFL action. Our contributor is Dale Jones, Minnesota Vikings fan since 2009.

To many fans of the NFL this week is simply just another round in the newly formatted 17 game season schedule. But to us fans here in the United Kingdom, this week brings something extra special, because it’s the return of the NFL London Games. So of course, we’ve made our game of the week, the Falcons, and the Jets!

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London calling

Ever since the first NFL International Series Game back in 2007, fans in the UK have been accustomed to seeing NFL regular season games in London every year (and, recently, usually seeing multiple games on our shores each year), a privilege of course, but something we’ve all become very used to by now.

For reasons we’re all aware of, last year unfortunately saw the cancellation of the London games. But fast forward a year, and whilst we’re still very much living in a world dealing with the ongoing pandemic, we are once again thankfully able to look forward to NFL games back here in London!

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It feels like a long time since we were able to welcome the Jacksonville Jaguars & Houston Texans to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium back in November 2019, and so this week - which has long been pencilled into the diaries of all UK fans - cannot have come soon enough.

First up on the London slate, it’s the Atlanta Falcons playing host to the New York Jets, two teams harbouring a 1-3 record; but coming into this week with very different momentum following week 4.

How the teams are shaping up

Starting with the “Home” side, the Atlanta Falcons come into week 5 following a 34-30 defeat at home to the Washington Football Team. Offensively the Falcons look dangerous, a 4 Touchdown outing for quarterback Matt Ryan, and the sudden emergence of former 1st round wide receiver, turned punt returner, turned running back Cordarelle Patterson, hauling in 3 of his 5 catches for touchdowns.

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Many of the big offensive plays came from keeping the play alive by the receivers and backs. This could be a sign of excellent playmaking, but it might also be indicative of struggles getting the ball out of Ryan’s hands for longer throws. There is still some concern about the offensive line's ability to halt opposing team rushers. It will be interesting to see how this dynamic plays out in week 5.

The issue, however, as it appears to have been for some time now in Atlanta, is the defence. The Falcons defensive unit allowed Washington, now led by backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke, to throw for two touchdowns in the final minutes of the game to deliver a comeback victory. The late collapse and the genuine lack of any sort of consistent pass rush don’t bode particularly well heading into this week.

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The New York Jets however look to be heading into this week on a bit of a high, even if it may be a bit of an unexpected one. After the opening three weeks (and three defeats), it looked like another season where the “same old Jets” mantra would apply, as it has for many seasons in recent memory. But in week 4, Zach Wilson led the Jets to their first victory of the season, as they defeated the Tennessee Titans 27-24 at home. This victory was the first of Wilson’s Jets career, and the first of new head coach Robert Saleh; perhaps an important milestone in the rebuild of the New York Jets franchise.

After looking somewhat lost in his first three games as a Jet, Zach Wilson looked to show some real promise and a hint of the talent that convinced the Jets to spend their 2nd overall draft pick on him in the offseason. Throwing for almost 300 yards and two touchdowns with that game-winning drive in OT to boot, could this be the moment the Jets can look upon to springboard their season?

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A two-sack outing for Quinnen Williams and one for his brother Quincy rounded off a nice defensive display from the Williams family, and it could be worth keeping an eye on these two in London as they look to cause more havoc against the Falcons offensive line.

The final word

The defensive line of the Jets against the offensive line of the Falcons could prove to be the deciding factor in this game.

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If the Falcons offensive line can give their veteran quarterback enough time to get the ball out to his playmakers, Atlanta clearly has enough talent on offence to score points and claim the win, but if the Jets defensive front are able to stifle them with constant pressure, they may be able to put their own signal-caller in a good position to go out and win the game for them.

Whatever happens, we’re all excited for the return of the London games; and the best news of all….we get to do it all over again next week!

We’ll be showing all of the NFL action at Belushi’s, and we’d love to have you join us. At Belushi’s, we guarantee a good time, whether through its world-class sports screenings, live music, beer pong, and more. Find your nearest bar.

Don’t forget you can follow @DaleJones14 and the @NinetyNineYards team on Twitter for the latest in NFL conversation, and of course, keep an eye out on the blog for fresh content from the team.