INDIANAPOLIS IN - JANUARY 08: Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets drops back to pass against the Indianapolis Colts during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 8 2011 in Indianapolis Indiana. The Jets won 17-16. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
I think the Jets can have success on the ground against the Patriots this Sunday. They ran it for almost 4.6 yards per carry in the two regular season meetings. They will not, however, likely be able to run it with the success they had in the second half against the Colts, where moving the ball required very little throwing.
The Jets are tailor made to be able to run the ball against that Colts team. Indy builds its defense around speed, forsaking size. A big and physical line like the Jets have is bound to have a lot of success pounding it on that unit, particularly one without Antonio Johnson, its best run stuffer. The Jets barely had to throw it to move the ball with success.
That will not be the case against New England. The Colts do not have anybody like Vince Wilfork in the middle of the line capable of at least fighting Nick Mangold to a draw. They do not have a linebacker like Jerrod Mayo adept in playing in traffic and getting off blocks. Mayo led the league in tackles. The Pats are roughly 25 pounds heavier per player on the defensive line. They are around 10 pounds per player heavier at linebacker. The Colts dropped 8 and 9 into the box, and it didn't matter because the Jets were so physical. If the Pats want to take away the run by dropping safeties, which they likely will to put the game into Sanchez's hands, they will probably find more success.
The Jets could get away with what Mark Sanchez provided against the Colts. They will probably not have the same kind of success in New England. Gang Green will need to make some big plays through the air to keep the ground lanes open.