Falcons vs. Jets: Which players will be difference makers?

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The Falcons are looking to rebound after another loss where the team led in the final moments. With Atlanta thin at numerous positions, a number of players will need to have a greater impact than normal to come away with the win over the New York Jets in Week 5.

Last week, the Jets took advantage of an injured Titans team to steal their first win of the season. The Falcons find themselves in a similar scenario and could fall victim once again. Let’s check out some difference-making players from both teams ahead of Sunday’s game in London.

RB/WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson - Falcons

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If the Falcons are to win against the Jets, Patterson will need to be given the ball much more. There’s no denying that the veteran has been the heart of the offense, even with top-end talent in Calvin Ridley, Kyle Pitts, and Matt Ryan. Even more so, with Ridley gone, Patterson could see an expanded role at wide receiver and leave the majority of running back snaps to Mike Davis and Wayne Gallman.

QB Zach Wilson - Jets

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Zach Wilson hasn’t looked great through the first four games. He had some good moments in their win over the Titans a week ago, but it’s too early to say he’s arrived. Wilson is a gunslinger that will make a mistake or two each game. However, just like Jalen Hurts in Week 1,Wilson can hurt you with his legs.

CB A.J. Terrell - Falcons

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A week after returning from a concussion sustained in Week 2, A.J. Terrell stood firm against Washington receivers. When targeted, Terrell allowed for only one completion on two attempts. In fact, Terrell is the only secondary defender to not allow a reception from Terry McLaurin. His only reception allowed in Week 4 was a two-yard catch by running back J.D. McKissic who took it an extra six yards.

DL Quinnen Williams - Jets

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In many ways, Williams has been a more productive lineman than Falcons DL Grady Jarrett. Through the first four contests, Williams has amassed 14 total pressures with four sacks and 10 total tackles — each total higher than Jarrett’s thus far.

Williams has consistently stayed as the right defensive tackle spot, placing him up against Jalen Mayfield on offense. While Mayfield has shown slight improvement each week, Williams will be another player capable of causing havoc for the Falcons’ offensive line. Against the Titans a week ago, he totaled five pressures, two sacks, and three total tackles.

TE Kyle Pitts - Falcons

(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

On paper, Pitts should see a massive jump in production as being touted as the Falcons’ biggest receiving threat. However, I’m not too confident this will actually be the case against the Jets. While it is possible that Patterson could see more reps at receiver than usual and alleviate some stress points, defenses will still focus in on Pitts, and maybe even to a greater extent.

Pitts’ biggest asset so for has been his ability to draw defenses in and open up other receiving options. While this isn’t necessarily based on what he has done on the field thus far, Pitts does have a potential boom factor that defenses must respect. Arthur Smith can certainly scheme Pitts into the offense, however it will be much more difficult than usual without Ridley and Gage.

WR Corey Davis - Jets

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Corey Davis, a free-agent signing from the Titans in the offseason, has been the Jets’ biggest weapon for Wilson. They haven’t developed much of a ground game as Michael Carter is the lead back with only 127 yards on 37 attempts. Through four games, Davis has totaled 257 yards on 16 receptions. this averages out to about 16 yards per reception.

Falcons CB A.J. Terrell will likely be the defender lined across from Davis on Sunday.

OLB Dante Fowler - Falcons

(AP Photo/Danny Karnik)

Fowler will be a focal point to containing Zach Wilson. After a rather poor 2020 campaign, the former Rams and Jaguars edge rusher has improved through the first quarter of the season, amassing 10 total pressures and two sacks.

One area where Fowler could make a huge impact is his ability to force turnovers by the quarterback. Not only is Wilson an interception machine, averaging two per game, he is also prone to fumble. Fowler has already forced a fumble on Tom Brady and Daniel Jones. With an offense still finding their identity, creating turnovers will help mitigate the woes along the way.

EDGE John Franklin-Myers - Jets

(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Matched up against Kaleb McGary, Franklin-Myers looks to build off a very strong performance a week ago where he recorded nine total pressures against the Titans. Only once did he sack the quarterback, but hurrying the quarterback is an equally effective way to disrupt the play.

Earlier in the week, Franklin-Myers signed a $55 million extension. This gives him 55 million reasons to disrupt Atlanta’s offensive rhythm on Sunday.

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