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Jet Streams: Initial thoughts on Jets-Colts

January 19, 2010

I never would have imagined that my Jets would be in this position — one win away from the Superbowl.  Furthermore, the Islanders are looking like a playoff team, St. John’s is back in the Big East hunt, and the Mets….well, 3 out 4 ain’t bad! 

Fresh off an unbelievable win in San Diego, Gang Green will travel to Indianapolis to face Peyton Manning and the Colts.  From 4-6,  and later what was thought to be a devastating loss to the Falcons, the Jets now look to continue to shock the world. 

This will be ANOTHER  huge challenge for the NFL’s top ranked defense as Peyton Manning may be the best QB to ever play the game.    He has plenty of weapons — Wayne, Clarke, Garcon — and even Joey Addai could present problems for New York’s D as they did give up 170 yards to Cedric Benson two weeks ago. 

I have laid out my 10 thoughts, or keys to the game as the Jets look to continue this dream season for a fan base that continues to walk on air. 

1. Peyton Manning has undoubtedly been the best regular season QB of our generation, but he is just 8-8 for his career in the playoffs with 18 interceptions.  Yes, he has won a ring, but Manning is not as dominant (statistically) in the post-season when compared to the first 16 games. 

2. The Colts beat the Ravens handedly 20-3, but to me their offense looked a little out of sync.  Peyton optioned for more short passing routes and also missed a couple of open receivers.  We all saw what the Jets D did to Philip Rivers on Sunday, so I don’t think Indy will put up a boat-load of points. 

3.  Kickers against the Jets so far in the playoffs are 0-5, and on the contrary Jay Feely has been money all season.  Matt Stover is 9-11 on the season for the Colts, but is not the same kicker he once was.  Could it be more of the same for the Jets and their hex on opposing kickers? 

4.  Lucas-Oil Stadium may not be as loud as the Super Dome, but the crowd definitely can affect the game.  Likewise,  the home team has prevailed in the past three AFC title games and has a 16-9 record in the past 25.   

5.  Offensively, the Jets don’t try to trick anybody.  They want to run the football, and will rush it until TJ and Greene’s legs fall off.   The Colts did a great job of containing Ray Rice and the Ravens last Saturday, but were just 24th in the NFL against the run this season.  Gang Green should be able to run the football and keep the pressure off Mark Sanchez.   Indianapolis is obviously a pass-first offense, and like the Colts struggle to run the football (Addai and Brown are both under 4.0 yds per carry.)  

6.  Again, just like the Jets last opponent, Indianapolis comes into the game basically injury-free.   Joseph Addai injured a shoulder against the Ravens, but he was able to return in the second half after going to the locker room for treatment.  Shaun Ellis of the Jets broke his hand on the first play of the San Diego game, but returned and played on passing downs.  The injury will require surgery, but Ellis said he will play and if the Jets win, he will have the surgery before the Super Bowl.  Recovery time is only 7-10 days.  

7.  D’Brickashaw Ferguson may be the best tackle in football, but might have his toughest matchup of the season on Sunday.   Dwight Freeney was a monster against Jared Gaither and the Ravens Saturday night, despite not recording a sack.  The Jets have only allowed 1 sack in their last four games, and keeping Sanchez upright is vital. 

8.  Certainly Revis will be on Reggie Wayne most of the game, but who will cover Garcon, Clark, and Collie?  Lito Shepphard has been great in the second half of the season, and the Jets were able to keep Gates out of the end zone, so I expect the secondary to hold their own on Sunday. 

9.  I’m sure everyone has commented on the Colts resting players in week 16, “allowing” the Jets to regain the lead, seal the win, and eventually make the playoffs.  How ironic that the Colts, who could have eliminated New York, now has to face that same team?  Even with Indy’s starters in the game, the Jets kept it close, and like the Chargers the Colts play a lot of close games. 

10.  The Jets have plenty of momentum and confidence.  Sure, that can amount to nothing in the end, but who can deny that Gang Green is rolling right now?  I mentioned earlier how the Colts didn’t look that sharp against the Ravens, and if New York can keep it close like they did in San Diego, I see no reason why they cannot win this game.

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