The Jets playoff situation has become bleak. After GangGreen was flying high riding a win streak, they now find themselves with their backs against the wall needing a lot of help from other teams -- being that they currently occupy the 9-spot in the AFC.
This game will feature the Jet's #1-ranked defense in the NFL (262 ypg) against the #4 offense of the Colts (383 ypg). The silver lining here though, is that Peyton Manning may be limited as far as playing time. While it is likely that he will start, there is a strong possibility that we will see backup QB Curtis Painter also. Indy Coach Jim Caldwell said his decision at QB will depend on the flow of the game.
Pound the Rock Inside:
At times this season, the Colts defense has been susceptible to power-rushing attacks, especially in between the tackles (which is where Thomas Jones excels). They rank 16th in the NFL against the run (112 ypg).
The Dolphins ran for 239 yards against the Colts in week two, and tripled them in time of possession in that game (45:15). Although, they lost the game due to red-zone struggles. Last week, the Jaguars rushed for 139 yards and possessed the ball for 35 minutes against the Colts. The key to beating this team is possessing the football.
The Jets' best chance of winning on Sunday is to run the football, dominate time of possession, and shorten the game. The less Peyton Manning you have to face, the better.
The Colts work out of the Ace-formation on offense, something the Jets have not seen all year. The Ace is a single-back set with three WR's and a TE, and is built behind a speedy and athletic O-Line. This offense is particularly fitting for them as it allows the TE to "flex", which makes them eligible as a receiver --- this is why Dallas Clark gets thrown to so many times.
Hopefully the Jets D has been watching and studying a lot of film this week, because the Colts are a vertical passing team, and the only team that employs this style of offense that they have faced this year is New Orleans.
It should be noted that normally the Ace-formation is comprised of what was listed above, but at times the Colts have been known to mix it up and add an extra receiver, halfback, or tight end ---using variations of the formation.
The Colts have so many weapons on offense, that they force opponents to employ a game-plan focusing on simply keeping Peyton and Co. off the field. Whether it be one of the top-3 WR1's in the NFL in Reggie Wayne (who is as consistent as they come), the speedy WR combo of Garcon (doubtful for tomorrow's game) and Collie underneath, Dallas Clark on key 3rd downs and in the red-zone, and Addai whose crafty, cutback style of running fits the Colts offense perfectly (although he is questionable so we may see Chad Simpson taking his carries) --- the Colts are loaded on offense.
Because of their depth at WR, the colts have the flexibility to run 1-2 receivers underneath, 1 WR deep, and the rest to run medium/intermediate routes.
At times, the Jets defensive front has struggled getting off blocks against athletic O-Lines this year (Miami), which has limited their ability to get pressure on opposing QB's. Shaun Ellis is questionable and would be a huge loss in that area.
As much as I respect Reggie Wayne and his ability, I would expect Revis to make it difficult and blanket him as he's done to WR1's all year. That being said, I worry that the young, speedy WR's of Collie and Baskett will have a big day against the veterans Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland, and the Jets secondary will be picked apart.
While the dome should help Sanchez (weather-wise), being on the road against 63,000 Indy fans won't. You have to play a perfect, mistake-free game to beat this outstanding Colts team. They are loaded.
The Jets should be able to run the football effectively, but a couple of Sanchez turnovers and the secondary's inability to come up big when needed will be the death of them ---- as they come up just short of spoiling the 14-0 Colts' perfect season.
Colts 21, Jets 20.