There aren't many ways to stop Peyton Manning, master of the passing attack.
About the only way, aside from a lights-out defensive performance: keep the ball out of his hands by controlling the clock with a stout running attack.
The Jets understand the importance of getting their rushing attack going versus against the Colts in their AFC wild-card meeting on Saturday. They're aware they must run the ball to shorten the game, something they weren't able to accomplish at the level they wanted in last year's AFC Championship tilt, when they rushed for a modest 86 yards on 29 carries and were affected when then rookie running back Shonn Greene was knocked out two plays into the third quarter with a rib injury.
"We’ve got a big challenge," right guard Brandon Moore said today. "I think for the most part, they stuffed us in that championship game of not being able to run the ball and do the things we wanted to do on offense. We are going to take that as a challenge, to be able to run the ball. They are going to be stoked to try to stop it again as they did in the championship game.
"But I think that’s the key to us being productive on offense. It really helps us being able to run the ball, and [use] playaction, and Mark [Sanchez] being able to feed off of that with the passing game. I think it really helps us be effective on offense. So whether it's 100 yards or 200 yards, we've just got to be able to run the ball."
Getting Damien Woody back could help those chances. The right tackle, who's still recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Dec. 15, returned to the practice field briefly last Friday, the first time he's been able to do so since the procedure.
Rex Ryan said today that believes Woody will be ready to go against the Colts, and Woody also hinted as much on Twitter. That means the Jets' offensive line could be back in tact again, which probably isn't a bad thing considering Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis will await them at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"It would be huge," Moore said. "It’s a big matchup this weekend with the ends they've got, so I’ll welcome him back with open arms. He was out practice a little bit this weekend as we got ready -- just a cameo appearance -- and we’ll see how it goes this week for practice.
“I really look forward Woody coming back.”