The Falcons, who were projected to be a real NFC South contender ahead of the 2021 season, enter this matchup with only one win under their belt and are favored by just three points over the totem pole Jets.
But despite, yet, another rocky start to the season, the Falcons have been improving week-to-week on the stats sheet and QB1 Matt Ryan believes things can only go up from here.
“I think we’re close,” Ryan told Heavy. “I get it. You want wins. We want wins, but I think we’re trending in the right direction. We’re getting better. And I really believe that if we continue to work the way that we have and we continue to push ourselves to grow and improve, the wins are going to come.”
In typical Atlanta fashion, the Falcons blew a late lead to the Washington Football Team in Week 4, but there were still some positives to come from the game. No. 1 being: for the first time this season, the Falcons’ offense looked explosive.
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The Falcons’ Rising Stats
On overall offense, the Falcons jumped up in the rankings last week and are now 25th in scoring, moving up 10 spots in the rankings. They’re also 24th in total yardage and 26th in yards per play.
In the passing game, the Falcons sit at No. 20, but 28th in yards per attempt. And major props to the team’s young offensive line who is allowing just a 4.7% sack rate heading into Week 5. This is in comparison to the Jets, who are giving up a 10.3% sack rate, putting them at No. 31.
To no surprise, the ground game is also coming to life under head coach Arthur Smith. Atlanta is currently 25th in rushing yardage while New York sits at No. 29. This area still needs improvement, but it looks a lot more promising than last season.
And where things really matter, the Falcons red zone efficiency, which was 0% against the Eagles in Week 1, is now up to 66.7%.
As we see a rise in offense, the Falcons’ defense still remains a concern. They currently rank 19th overall, 32nd in scoring defense and 23rd in passing yards allowed. Hopefully, this is the week the defensive side of the ball sees improvement and the offense continues to rise.
Falcons Remaining 2021 Schedule
Week 5: Oct. 10 vs. New York Jets (at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium), 9:30 a.m.
Week 6: Bye week
Week 7: Oct. 24 @ Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m.
Week 8: Oct. 31 vs. Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m.
Week 9: Nov. 7 @ New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m.
Week 10: Nov. 14 at Dallas Cowboys 1 p.m.
Week 11: Thursday, Nov. 18 vs. New England Patriots, 8:20 p.m.
Week 12: Nov. 28 @ Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m.
Week 13: Dec. 5 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m.
Week 14: Dec. 12 @ Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m.
Week 15: Dec. 19 @ San Francisco 49ers, 4:05 p.m.
Week 16: Dec. 26 vs. Detroit Lions, 1 p.m.
Week 17: Jan. 3 @ Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m.
Week 18: Jan. 9 vs. New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m.
Atlanta doesn’t return to the Benz until Halloween weekend to take on rival Carolina Panthers and Ryan expects a 3-3 record by then along with a packed house.
“We need the support for sure,” Ryan said. “When we get back to Mercedes-Benz Stadium here at the end of the month, we need it loud, we need it rowdy. We’re going to hopefully be getting on a roll at that point, so stick with us. I really think there’s going to be good improvement.”
Watch Matt Ryan’s full interview with Heavy below: