Two games stick out in my mind when thinking about this matchup. The first came in Week 2. The Dolphins lost to the Colts, but they dominated Indianapolis on the ground. They ran for 239 yards, a 4.9 average, and held the ball for 45:00 even though they lacked the ability to make big plays in the passing game, and the Colts knew Miami was going to try and pound it. The second was in the 2006 Playoffs. The Chiefs ran for 44 yards on 17 carries even with Larry Johnson enjoying a monster season. The Jets have a similar power running game and will focus almost exclusively on it. The way the Colts defend it will determine whether New York has a chance.
The Jets need to control the ball and the clock. Peyton Manning can't score if he doesn't have the ball. If the Jets have close to the success Miami had, Manning won't be able to save the Colts. It took a perfect game by him in Week 2. That will be a lot tougher to do against New York's defense. Doing so is easier said than done, though.
The Colts give up a lot of yards but not many points. They force turnovers and stiffen in the red zone. This presents a catch 22 for the Jets. Shonn Greene is the back most capable of pounding out tough yardage, but his fumble issues are scary. Again, New York cannot give Manning any help.
The Colts are very fast up front. That can present some problems in the passing game for the Jets. They also sacrifice size for that speed. That could be good in the run game. The Jets are a power team on the ground. It will depend whether the Colts get off the line quickly enough to gain leverage. If they don't, New York's linemen can steamroll them. Their starting linebackers are all in the 235-240 pound range. Their ends are giving a lot of weight to New York's tackles. They're also without Bob Sanders, their most valuable defender, who is out for the season. On paper, the Jets seem to have the edge. You know Indy will do everything possible to take away the run, even if it means stacking nine men in the box. Can the Jets' vaunted offensive line use its size to impose its will anyway? The answer could decide the game.