Herman Edwards thinks the Colts should be concerned with what lies ahead Sunday. He thinks the Jets' chances of pulling another upset might not be as difficult as some prognosticators and experts are assuming.
The former Jets coach, who's now an ESPN analyst, is essentially saying Jets fans should beat the rush. Why wait? Book those reservations to soak up a little South Florida sun the week leading up to Feb. 7, the day of Super Bowl XLIV in Miami.
"The Jets right now, they've got to be the most confident team going into this, if I'm them," Edwards told Newsday Tuesday. "Why not? You are playing with house money. There's no pressure on the Jets. The pressure is on the Colts. I mean, they've got Peyton Manning, they are playing at home. It's kind of like everyone expected them to be playing the Chargers this week.
"But they're going to play the Jets. Here come the Jets. 'They are going to run it, and they've got a rookie quarterback, a rookie head coach.' Well, you know what? You mess around and they are going to be playing in the Super Bowl next. They are going to be in Miami. I think they've got a shot, I really do. I'm picking 'em. I'm going with them this week."
Edwards isn't surprised that the Jets are playing for the AFC Championship for the first time since 1999. He knows they need to play extremely well in several phases to pull off another stunner. But with their No. 1 rushing attack, top-ranked defense and that special karma, he thinks the Jets have what it takes to send Manning & Co. home.
"I don't think it's going to be as hard as people anticipate," Edwards said. "You've got to understand, these guys have gone on the road and really beaten two opponents that won their division. That's what you call momentum, that's what you call confidence, that's what you call understanding what we are dealing with."
The Jets' game plan, Edwards said, should be to give Manning as little time as possible on the play clock to read what they're doing defensively. That way, he can't change things up by barking out calls at the line of scrimmage, which he's very savvy at.
Still, Edwards believes the real pressure won't fall squarely on Manning's shoulders, but more so on those of Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Pierre Garcon and the rest of the Colts' receivers because they need to quickly read the Jets' defense pre-snap.
"If they are not seeing what Peyton Manning is seeing," he said, "they are not playing as fast and that's a problem . . . Peyton Manning doesn't like to hold on to that ball. He wants to get rid of it."
"The New York Jets are enforcing their will on America, I really believe that," the ESPN analyst and former Patriot told Newsday. "I think Rex Ryan's words were looked at early on in the season as maybe foolish and silly at times . . . But their play and their performance is convincing the country that this team is for real, and they are a team that can possibly be a contender for multiple years down the line."
Or even this year.
"Trust me, I won't be shocked if they beat Indianapolis," Edwards said. "It would not shock me."