Folks, this is a site where we can respectfully disagree with each other. This is one of those times. Matt told you earlier today why the Jets shouldn't play Cover 2 on the Colts. I'm going to respectfully disagree. I think the Jets should play a decent amount of Cover 2 on Indianapolis. Indy has plenty of speedy receivers, and it's important to limit the big play. Peyton Manning is the best quarterback on the planet. He's probably going to get his no matter how good the defense is, and no matter what coverage you play. He's also human. It's not easy for him to consistently execute 12 to 13 times in a row, putting together the long scoring drive Cover 2 requires.
I don't the the flaw in Baltimore's approach was in using the Cover 2. I think it was the defensive formations used. The Ravens showed a lot of nickel, but they lined up in a 4-2-5. That keyed the Colts into which 4 players were rushing. Manning's tough to blitz. He can identify it and find the open spot on the field the blitzer left. Only rushing 4 is also a problem. Peyton took only 10 sacks during the regular season. It wasn't because his offensive line was great. It was because he doesn't need much time to find an open man. If a defense wants to knock him around, it needs to get there quickly. Rushing 4 in a 4-2-5 requires somebody to dominate a lineman and run free.
I say keep the nickel, but show different fronts. The Jets should run the 3-3-5 and even some 2-4-5. The Colts are a passing team. Again, they have the best quarterback in the game. Their run game is suspect. Dare them to run it by going smaller. These fronts help the pass rush. With only 2 or 3 down linemen, the linemen can't as easily indentify which linebackers are blitzing. That's more apt to create the kind of confusion necessary to get to Manning.
The Jets should also limit their overload blitzes. They take a while to develop. Peyton will feel the pressure and dump it to the other side. Instead the Jets should look to overload the A and B gaps inside. Send two rushers into one gap and hope somebody runs free. The shorter path to the quarterback will provide a better chance of somebody getting to him quickly. Even Peyton Manning can get rattled if he's under constant pressure.
Indianapolis' receivers are a tougher matchup than San Diego's for New York's secondary. They rely on speed more than size. The corners and safeties on the Jets can win jump balls. They have great ball skills. They can be exploited by speed. Think of what Austin Collie did to Lito Sheppard in Week 16. I'm not worried about Darrelle Revis. He can handle Reggie Wayne. Dallas Clark, Austin Colle, and Pierre Garcon, who was out Week 16 are all quick. Part of the reason I'd like to see Cover 2 is the most effective way to play these receivers is to get physicial. Jam them off the line so they can't get a running start and use their speed. Having safety help makes that less risky.
I also wouldn't be surprised to see the Jets move Revis around like they did last week to give him some action on Dallas Clark. Mixing up coverages is essential against Manning. Peyton will figure out how to crack coverage schemes he sees frequently