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Game Scout: Jets at Falcons

The SportsXchange

New York Jets (2-2) at Atlanta Falcons (1-3)

Monday, 8:40 p.m. ET, at Georgia Doma, Atlanta - TV: ESPN

*TV announcers: Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters

*Keys to the game: Ball control is the Jets' only feasible path to the upset. Rookie QB Geno Smith, who had four turnovers at Tennessee last week, lost receivers Stephen Hill and Santonio Holmes to injuries that will almost surely leave them inactive against the Falcons. While RB Mike Goodson is expected to make his season debut, Smith will lean mostly on RB Bilal Powell, who is averaging 133 yards from scrimmage the past three games. If the Falcons jump to an early lead, much attention will be paid on their ability to close out in the second half. Atlanta hasn't scored multiple second-half touchdowns in seven games. Jets coach Rex Ryan will vie to take away Matt Ryan's outside weapons. WRs Julio Jones and Roddy White offer a far more imposing challenge to the Jets secondary and Tony Gonzalez increases the pressure on safeties Dawan Landry and Antonio Allen to contribute.

*Matchup to watch - CB Antonio Cromartie vs. Falcons WR Julio Jones: Jones leads the NFL in receiving yards (481) and the NFC in receptions (33) -- Cromartie, the former Florida State standout, is highly respected by Matt Ryan. Jones easily got open deep several times against the Patriots, but the connection was disrupted by late throws and strong coverage.

*Player spotlight - Falcons RT Jeremy Trueblood: With Lamar Holmes moved to left tackle to replace Sam Baker (knee), Trueblood replaced him last week against the Patriots and Atlanta is counting on him for veteran stability. The Jets have 14 sacks in four games.

*Fast facts: Ryan is 34-6 at home. ... Gonzalez has caught at least one pass in 198 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL.

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY

Falcons QB Matt Ryan would welcome RB Steven Jackson (quad) back to the lineup. Without him, he'll have to be fine with his ball placement and get his entire cast involved to wear down the stubborn Jets' defense.

*Our pick: Falcons 34-17
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