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New York Jets vs. Indianapolis Colts Preview and Prediction

After a week of speculation the time has finally come. Tonight the New York Jets will square off against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. Just hours before gametime, here are some of my final thoughts on the matchup:

  • I’m pretty confident in the Jets tonight. Well, as much as you can be when playing Peyton Manning. The Colts seem to be going more by their reputation than how they have been playing. Sure, they’re the Colts and Peyton Manning can take over the game, but they just aren’t close to the team they were last season. I feel that the Jets have the better team, they just need to prove that tonight.
  • I don’t expect the Jets to be able to run the ball down the Colts throats like many people expect. The have tightened up against the run over the past 3 weeks allowing only 98 yards on 66 carries (3.0 YPA). In that span they have played Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren McFadden, and Chris Johnson. Which gets to my next point.
  • Big spot right here for Mark Sanchez. The game will fall on his shoulders. The Colts won’t struggle to score points. Sanchez needs to lead the Jets to at least 20 points probably more. One area where he needs to be clutch is in the red zone. The Jets have struggled in the red zone all season and your not going to beat the Colts by kicking field goals, you need touchdowns when your in the red zone.
  • One reason why I think Sanchez will have a good game is because of how he performed against Chicago a few weeks ago. The Bears play a Cover-2 defense, similar to what the Colts play and Sanchez played great against the Bears finding space and picking apart their zone coverages.
  • One player who should be his best friend tonight is tight end Dustin Keller. Keller had 7 receptions for 79 yards against the Bears and also had a tough end zone drop. He should find space to operate and last year had 6 for 63 and a score in the AFC Championship Game.
  • Time to step up Antonio Cromartie. This is why the Jets traded for you. For this spot exactly. Pierre Garcon burned the Jets last year (151 yards), but that was mainly against Dwight Lowery. If Cromartie can lock up Garcon, that will go a long way in ensuring a Jets victory. Also a big performance will go a long way in the Jets giving him a long term contract. Don’t forget that a Jets win means they give up a second round pick for Cromartie.
  • Don’t overlook the Colts running game. Most of the attention is on their passing attack, but quietly during their 4 game winning streak they have averaged 133.5 yards per game and 4.5 per attempt. The Jets have looked vulnerable against the run versus Rashard Mendenhall and Matt Forte and if the Colts have their running game going that opens up the play-action game which could be big trouble for the Jets.
  • Brad Smith needs to make one big play. Whether its on a return, a run, or even a pass, the Colts have shown they are vulnerable to Smith in the past and he adds another element to the Jets attack that the Colts can’t match.
  • Prediction: Jets 23, Colts 20 – The Jets contain Peyton Manning to an extent while making enough plays on offense to win the game. The defense comes up huge at the end stalling a Peyton Manning drive.

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