FLORHAM PARK -- The Atlanta Falcons have not been the juggernaut they were last season on their march to the Super Bowl, where they suffered the greatest collapse in the history of that game.
But a lot of the talent on that team is back. If the Jets are going to snap a two-game losing streak by beating Atlanta on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, they'll have to do so without some key personnel.
The Jets (3-4) have ruled out starting cornerback Buster Skrine (concussion) and starting offensive tackle Brandon Shell (neck). Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (toe/foot/shoulder) is listed as questionable.
Skrine would have had a key roll defending Falcons' sensational wide receiver Julio Jones. Shell likely would have found himself up against pass-rusher extraordinaire Vic Beasley Jr., who the Falcons (3-3) like to move around.
Jets coach Todd Bowles wouldn't disclose who would replace Skrine at right cornerback. Third-year pro Darryl Roberts is listed behind Skrine on the depth chart. Brent Qvale will start in place of Shell.
"Losing Buster right now is tough but it's next man up," said cornerback Morris Claiborne. "You hear that everywhere you go. When one guy goes down another guy has to step up and go out and get that job done. But we are going to miss him."
When Bowles was asked if he thought the Jets, without Skrine, had a good plan to defend the Falcons he said, "We're confident we're OK."
In addition to Skrine and Shell, Wilkerson has been playing without practicing. That will become more problematic as the Jets face a short week after Atlanta, playing the Bills on Thursday night.
This is a crucial game for the Jets, who sit in last place in the AFC East. They were tied with the Pats at halftime of a 24-17 loss two weeks ago and blew a 14-point, fourth quarter lead in last week's 31-28 loss to the Dolphins.
The Falcons also are reeling after getting dominated 23-7 in their rematch with the Patriots. The Falcons offense has been moribund of late, failing to reach the 20-point mark in each of the past three games.