Posted: 12:00 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013
By Jeff Gray
It's been a rough start to 2013 for the Atlanta Falcons, who have already matched last year's regular season loss total with their 1-3 record. The bumpy beginning isn't keeping them from being favorites over the 2-2 New York Jets at home on Monday Night Football, however: the opening spread has them favored by a full seven points, according to Oddsshark.com.
In fairness to the Falcons, their three losses came at the hands of the Saints, Dolphins and Patriots, three teams with an 11-1 combined record. That's no reassurance to gamblers, though, considering the Dirty Birds are 1-3 against the spread. The Jets, while better than expected so far, have been wildly inconsistent during their .500 start and are 0-2 on the road. They are 3-1 against the spread, however.
Atlanta's biggest advantage offensively comes on the ground. They're out-gaining the Jets by over 35 yards per game. Starting halfback Steven Jackson won't be on the field Monday, though, and the Jets defense is currently fifth in the league against the run.
Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith has struggled outside of the Meadowlands -- he's thrown five interceptions to just one touchdown this year on the road. If Matt Ryan and his talented receiving corps can put the pressure on Smith by jumping in front early, the rookie could be in for a long night in the Georgia Dome.