Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Colts, Football, Indianpolis, Jets, New York, NFL, Playoffs, Sports
That’s it, I couldn’t wait any longer. Even though it’s Monday, this game just had to be broken down.
It doesn’t take a literary genius to create story lines for this game. The Colts look human, the Jets can finally back up their mouths, I can go on and on. This is, in my opinion, the most interesting game that Wild Card Weekend has to offer. We’ll go with a unit by unit breakdown.
Indianapolis Colts Offense vs. New York Jets Defense.
A quick look at the Indianapolis Colts this season and you see 4th in points per game, 4th in yards per game, and first in passing yards per game. Nothing out of the ordinary, right? Well read between the lines and many see a struggling Colts offense who shows severe deficiencies without numerous playmakers. The Colts struggled down the stretch, eeking out wins against non-playoff contenders in the Raiders and Titans(twice), while losing consecutively to the Patriots, Chargers, and Cowboys. Peyton Manning did put the team on his back, delivering 4 straight wins to clinch the AFC South. His back has to be hurting by now. The entire Colts season has essentially been Peyton Manning’s production. He’s compiled a whopping 4700 yards with 33TD’s and 17INT’s.
Flip to the other side and the feeling is about the same. The Jets defense has not lived up to the self imposed(or media imposed) expectations which came with the success they experienced last season. While accumulating 8 more sacks, the overall feeling was that the pass rush experiences oft power outages. 600 more total yards than last season and an inability to gather the clutch stop has troubled the defense. Looking at the second half of the season, the defense struggled against upper echelon offenses, allowing 27(HOU), 45(NE), and 38(CHI). Without an imposing pass rush, it’s difficult to keep potent passing attacks under wraps.
Jets Offense vs. Colts Defense
While the previous matchup may be the “bread and butter” of the two teams, this matchup could very possibly decide the game. The Jets bring an offense to Lucas Oil Stadium which is the definition of inconsistent. Which offense will show up? Will it be the accurate and poised Mark Sanchez seen in the Chicago game, or the struggling and often lost Sanchez from the Patriots and Dolphins games? My problem with Sanchez is his 54.8% completion rating. In order to succeed in the playoffs, you must be near perfect and complete more than just the “necessary” passes. Unlike last season, the run game can by no means be relied upon to shoulder the load. L.T has lost his flare in the second half of the year and Shonn Greene has been rather disappointing in his own right.
Meanwhile, the Colts defense has faced it’s own struggles. 20th in yards per game allowed, 22nd in PPG allowed, the Colts defense is nothing more than average at best. They haven’t been able to force many turnovers and have allowed over 2,000 yards on the ground. The Colts defense relies on speed and strategic playcalling, which can hurt against a team like the Jets. There’s no doubting the physicality of the Jets offensive line, which could bode to be problems up the middle for the undersized Colts.
It helps the Jets have one of the most electrifying return games with Brad Smith at the helm. It also helps the Jets are +9 in the turnover margin while the Colts sit in the red at -4. But are the Colts being counted out too early? Sure injuries have forced the team to evolve maybe more than they wish, but they were also still able to finish at 10-6. Just a year ago they were in the Super Bowl, and maybe it’s more of a “just having to get there” for the Colts to show up. Indianapolis has won 4 in a row down the stretch in meaningful football games. On the other side, it’s difficult to argue against the fact that the Jets have struggled down the stretch. Since week 8, the Jets have beat only one team with a winning record. Funny thing is, so have the Colts. With both teams struggling against the creme of the crop, it may come down to what you like more. Peyton Manning against a defense which has struggled to generate pressure/against prolific passing teams, or a tough Jets football team who has found ways to win?
Give me Peyton Manning.
- Mark Chiarelli