Jets at Colts: The little defense that could takes New York’s other team to the big, scary blue and white dome to face Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. Try to forget what the Jets did to the Colts a few weeks ago, since nobody in the world thought these two teams would be facing each other again this year, and the Colts sat most of their team after the first quarter.
The Jets know this, but they don’t care. They just ended the Chargers incredible winning streak, and are taking aim at the other top team in an absolutely stunning and improbable march through the playoffs. They’re the underdog and they love it. And lucky for them, the Colts are 8-point favorites heading into the weekend matchup.
It’s no secret the Colts lead every offensive category over the Jets when looking at season average, but what catches your eye is how the Colts nearly doubled the Jets passing effort. Of course, Peyton Manning compared to Mark Sanchez is like comparing High School Musical to Glee (wow, horrible reference), but still, for one team to be that far ahead of another professional club speaks volumes. One guess what area the Jets defense is beefing up for this week.
As for the Colts defense, look for them to turn the tide early with a few gambles to grab a pick. Sanchez had 20 throughout the year, and although the Jets defense helped get him through his first two “big” games – and to his credit he’s kept his poise (only 1 int over the first two playoff games), the Colts are just in another league than both the Bengals and, yes, the Chargers on both sides of the ball.
The Jets better hope they get the first score, because if they don’t I think they’ll be trailing the entire game.
Manning is certainly capable of throwing a few picks himself (16), but he puts himself and his team in such great position (33 TD passes this year), it almost doesn’t matter to anyone except the fantasy teams.
The Jets are built to stop the run, but the Colts aren’t interested in killing you on the ground, and when they do put their ground game into full action, it’s usually too late for the defense to make up for its earlier deficiencies anyway.
My wild card here is Thomas Jones. I think he’ll get more carries than the first two playoff games, and if he can find a hole or two and keep this one interesting, the Jets will ride that emotional fuel through as much of the game as they can. But the defense is only going to be as good as how long they can rest between Colts possessions. If Sanchez goes pick happy or bombs three and out more often than not, that great wall of green is quickly going to be mowed over.