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MNF - Jets at Falcons

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The Falcons have been a tough team to figure out through four games, as the defending NFC South champions need a win on Monday night to get on the playoff track. The Jets play their second straight road contest after getting blown out at Tennessee last week, but New York owns the better record heading into this matchup at the Georgia Dome.

Following New Orleans' victory at Chicago on Sunday, the Falcons are in danger of falling four games behind the Saints in the NFC South with a loss on Monday. Atlanta is listed as a double-digit favorite after getting tripped up by New England last Sunday night, 30-23. After a field goal to take a 3-0 advantage, the Falcons never led again, while falling behind by as many as 14 points as Mike Smith's team failed to cash as three-point favorites. Matt Ryan threw for 421 yards, but the Atlanta running game did very little by accumulating 58 yards.

The Jets have turned into a surprise for bettors by covering three of four games so far, while splitting their first four contests straight-up. New York can pull into second-place tie in the AFC East with Miami if the Jets can grab a road win tonight, but Rex Ryan's club has lost each of their first two away contests. The Jets cashed as 11-point underdogs at New England in Week 2, but New York was rolled at Tennessee last Sunday, 38-13 as 4 ½-point underdogs. New York fell behind, 24-6 at halftime, while turning the ball over four times.

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Under Smith, the Falcons own a solid 6-1 SU/ATS record off a home loss dating back to 2008, as Atlanta fell into this situation just once last season. The Falcons dropped the regular season finale to Tampa Bay, then held off Seattle in the NFC Divisional Playoffs, 30-28, but failed to cash as 2 ½-point favorites. In the last five seasons, the Falcons have suffered through just one three-game ATS skid (in 2011), while posting a 4-1-1 ATS mark off consecutive ATS losses in this stretch.

The last time these teams hooked up was a real barnburner at Met Life Stadium, as Atlanta held off New York, 10-7 to cash outright as six-point road underdogs in 2009. The Falcons won that contest in December in spite of being out of the playoff race, but that victory spurred a three-game winning streak to end that campaign at 9-7. The loss didn't affect the Jets, who eventually fell to the Colts in the AFC Championship.

The Jets have never won at Georgia Dome in three visits since 1992, which includes a 27-14 defeat to the Falcons in 2005. That game took place on a Monday night coincidentally, as Atlanta cruised to victory as eight-point favorites, while the game barely cashed the 'over' of 40.

The Falcons started the 2012 season by hitting the 'under' in seven of eight home games. However, Atlanta sailed 'over' the total in its two home playoff contests against Seattle and San Francisco, while drilling the 'over' in the first two games at the Georgia Dome this season against St. Louis and New England. The loss to the Patriots last week snapped an eight-game home winning streak against AFC foes since 2009.

In Ryan's tenure, the Jets are just 2-5 SU and 3-4 ATS in Monday night action, including losses last season to the Texans and Titans. However, New York has been profitable as an underdog of at least nine points by putting up an 8-2 ATS record since 2007.

Atlanta is a losing proposition when laying at least nine points under Smith by posting a 4-5 ATS record. The Falcons failed to cover as heavy favorites in home wins last season against the Raiders and Cardinals, but won each of these games straight-up. Surprisingly, this is only the third Monday night game at the Georgia Dome since 2008, as the Falcons lost to the Saints in 2010, while holding off the Broncos last season in Week 2.

The Falcons are listed as 9 ½-point home favorites, while several books have posted Atlanta as 10-point 'chalk.' The total is set at 44, as the game can be seen nationally on ESPN. You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at rogers@vegasinsider.com

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

  
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