Ten reasons why the Jets will beat the Colts
Many of the Jets headlines this year have been about the never-ending controversies surrounding the team. Still, the Jets got the job done on the field, going 11-5. It's time to take a look at the Jets and ten reasons why we think they will beat the Colts in a rematch of last year's AFC Championship game.
10) SANTONIO HOLMES
The former Super Bowl MVP has a reputation of making big catches when it counts the most. His game-winning catch with six seconds left in Super Bowl XLIII secured a win for the Steelers. His penchant for making big plays came with him to New York, as he caught game-winning touchdowns in back-to-back weeks against the Browns and Texans. Holmes gives Mark Sanchez another big-play option if Braylon Edwards is unavailable.
Jets offensive lineman Damien Woody (67) blocks teammate Vladimir Ducasse (62) during drills as the team prepares to face the Indianapolis Colts. (Jan. 4, 2011)
8) PEYTON MANNING IS NOT IMMORTAL, ESPECIALLY IN THE PLAYOFFS
Yes, Peyton Manning is one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. Yes, Manning has won a Super Bowl. Yes, Manning is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. But let’s not forget his many hiccups in the playoffs. The Patriots have embarrassed Manning a few times before in the playoffs. In the 2004 AFC Championship game the Patriots picked him off four times and sacked him four times. In 2007, Manning threw what looked like a game-ending interception against the Steelers in the divisional playoff round. The call was later overturned only for the NFL to admit the interception should have stood. In the 2008 playoffs, the Colts were bounced by the San Diego Chargers in the wild-card round. Manning did throw for 400 yards, but also threw two key interceptions. His lifetime record in playoff games is 9-9.
7) THE COLTS' DEFENSE IS VERY VULNERABLE
While the Colts’ offense poses a major threat, the defense is a different story. The Colts' 'D' gave up an average of 24 points a game (23rd in the NFL), 342 total yards (20th in the NFL), and 127 rushing yards (25th in NFL). Injuries have been a big part of the problem for the defense, but the Jets have to be salivating at the chance to have a big day against Indy's defense. If the Jets can get the running game going against the Colts’ defensive line, which is geared more towards hitting the quarterback, the passing game should open up for Mark Sanchez.
6) THE JETS HAVE LADY LUCK ON THEIR SIDE
The football gods have been smiling upon the Jets this season. It was never more evident than during a three-week span when the Jets pulled out three consecutive come-from-behind victories: Week 9 vs. Lions (when they rallied from a 10-point deficit in the final 5:00 to win in overtime); Week 10 vs. the Browns (Santonio Holmes caught a 37-yard touchdown with less than a minute to go in overtime); and Week 11 vs. Texans (The Jets blew a 16-point fourth quarter lead before Holmes caught a touchdown with six seconds left).
5) MARK SANCHEZ IS BETTER THAN LAST YEAR
Mark Sanchez has blossomed into a much more dependable quarterback in his second year. All key areas have shown improvement from 2009, including fewer interceptions (20 to 13) and more touchdowns (12 to 17). He passed for over 3,000 yards and became the leader of the offense. The Jets hope Sanchez can find some of that magic from early in the season, when he threw eight touchdowns and no picks in his first five games. His sore throwing shoulder is a concern, but Sanchez has assured everyone he is ready to go.
4) THE INJURY BUG HAS BITTEN THE COLTS
The Colts have had 12 players on injured reserve during the 2010 season. Two of the biggest players missing in action are wide receiver Austin Collie and tight end Dallas Clark. In last year’s AFC Championship game, Collie caught seven balls for 123 yards and one touchdown and Clark added four catches for 35 yards and a touchdown. With those two out, life should be easier for the Jets secondary. On the defensive side, Colts linebacker Clint Sessions has missed the last nine games with a dislocated elbow and is questionable for Saturday's game.
3) THE PRESSURE IS ON THE COLTS TO WIN
Considering the way the Colts sneaked into the playoffs by winning their last four in a row, it may sound strange that to say there's more pressure on them. But they have been one of the NFL's best teams for a decade, they have Peyton Manning and a litany of other players with championship pedigrees and they have home field advantage. Even the bookies like the Colts, who they made a three-point favorite. If the Jets come out loose, it could help them get off to a fast start.
2) SHONN GREENE AND THE GROUND-AND-POUND OFFENSE
Shonn Greene was knocked out of last year's AFC Championship game early in the third quarter; this year, he's back and he brings a reputation for big playoff performances with him. Greene ran for 263 yards combined against the Bengals and Chargers in last year's playoffs.
The Jets must run effectively to shorten the game and keep Peyton Manning off the field. As the amount of time he spends on the sidelines increases, so do the Jets' chances of winning.
1) THESE AREN'T YOUR SAME OLD JETS
Overall, the Jets are a better team with more talented players this year. The additions of Antonio Cromartie, Santonio Holmes, and LaDainian Tomlinson have made the Jets a more dangerous and formidable opponent for the Colts. Rex Ryan have his team pumped up and ready from the opening whistle. Critics slam Ryan when he calls the Jets “the best team in football,” but his players buy into that and feed off his bravado. The Jets should have no fear heading into Indianapolis, where they led at halftime in last year’s AFC title game. And the Jets were good on the road, going 6-2 this year away from home. All that adds up to a Jets win.