Rex Ryan has carried over his defensive success from Baltimore to New York as a head coach. The Jets defense ranks first in the NFL in points, yards allowed and pass yards per game, while only giving up 104.3 rushing yards per contest. In their last five games the Jets defense has only allowed 19 second-half points; the only team to score a touchdown during the second half in those games was the New England Patriots. The Jets have won their last three games and are a two points loss from being 4-1 over their last five. New York's season is finishing the way it started. The Jets started 3-0 and only allowed 21 points in the second-half of those first three contests. There are only two teams this season who have had success against the Jets defense in the second half, the Dolphins and Bills. The Bills were fortunate to have Mark Sanchez throw five interceptions, while the Dolphins had 413 total net yards in the first meeting and two kickoffs returned for touchdowns in the second meeting.
The Falcons have only allowed opposing teams to score more then 14 second-half points twice and the defense has held opponents to one second-half score seven times this season.
Watch for both defenses to improve as the game moves on and for second-half points to be key to Sunday's outcome.
The Jets defense is allowing a league best 160.4 passing yards per game. The group doesn't rely much on getting sacks to stop opposing offenses, but has 15 interceptions this season ranking eighth overall. What the Jets defense does well is limit opposing teams passing touchdowns. Leading the league New York's defense has only allowed seven touchdown passes this season, that is around one touchdown pass every two games. In the Jets last three games the defense has had eight interceptions. Darrelle Revis lead the team with six interceptions, while six other Jets players complete the list.
The Falcons have six players with interceptions this season. Thomas DeCoud and Brent Grimes each have two to lead the defense. The Falcons defense totals eight interceptions, while opponents have 15.
Sanchez saw limited participation early this week in practice and appears to be a game-time decision. The rookie has seen almost all of the snaps for the Jets this season and has thrown 17 interceptions and 11 touchdowns. In only four of the first 12 games Sanchez did not throw an interception and he had three games throwing three or more. With Sanchez nursing his right knee the Jets may have to start Kellen Clemens, who has thrown five touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his four-year career.
Matt Ryan did not participate in practice on Wednesday and has missed the last two games. Ryan has thrown 12 interceptions and 16 touchdowns this season. Chris Redman has started the last two games for the Falcons, throwing four touchdowns and three interceptions in the last three games.
Watch for interceptions to be key in this Week 15 matchup.
If the Falcons can protect the football and focus on the ground game the Jets defense might struggle to keep them out of the end zone. The Falcons defense needs to show up with open eyes, as both Jets quarterbacks have been prone to throwing interceptions. If the Falcons can keep the ball out of the Jets secondary's hands and the Falcons defense can create turnovers watch to see the Falcons playoff hopes continue.
MORE FALCONS-JETS COVERAGE:
FALCONCAST:J. Mike and Matt preview the game with Eric Allen of NYJets.com * J. MIKE'S MISSIVES:Updated practice news and more from the AF.com editor * MULTIMEDIA:Click here for Falcons-Jets interviews from AF.com * INJURY REPORT:Update injury news from Piedmont Healthcare * EXPERT'S TAKE:Wyche's thoughts on the Falcons, injuries * WHAT TO WATCH:Some key story lines to keep an eye on for Sunday * STATEMENT:Comments from Falcons wide receiver Eric Weems * NOTES AND NUMBERS:Some game notes and key numbers for the weekend * RELEASE:Warrick Dunn to be new limited partner with Falcons * HIGH SCHOOL:Falcons honor the best in Georgia high school football