Jets vs. Colts: AFC Championship Game Prediction

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First a few updates:

1. Watch the new episode of TOJ TV at the top and bottom of the article.

2. Kerry Rhodes and Shaun Ellis both practiced today and will be in the starting line-ups on Sunday.

3. www.thejetsblog.com has good coverage of the pep rally in Times Square yesterday, with video and photos from the event.

Jets vs. Colts: AFC Championship Game Prediction

I think the entire “NFL is a passing league and you win by throwing the ball” argument is complete BS. There is a reason Ben Rothlisberger has won more Super Bowls than Peyton Manning and Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson, and Eli Manning have won the same amount. Look at the past ten 10 Super Bowl Champs: The Patriots won three when they were built on a strong defense and their running game, instead of their passing game. Do you remember the Patriots receiving core during their Super Bowl victories? Exactly. When they became a team built around a prolific passing offense, they  lost in the Super Bowl to a Giants team with a big time defense and a big time running game. The Ravens, Bucs, Steelers, and Giants all won because of their defense and running game, not because of their ability to throw the ball. Even when the Rams were the Greatest Show On Turf, they ran the ball well with Marshall Faulk.

Yes, I know the Colts did a win Super Bowl in 2006. They deserve credit, yet they took advantage of a weak AFC Playoff field (including a below average 10-6 Jets team and a weak 9-7 Chiefs team), an overachieving New England team, and a choke artist San Diego team and beat a not so memorable Chicago team in the Super Bowl. However, do you remember how poorly Peyton Manning played in those first two playoff games? He threw 5 INT’s and 1 TD and continued his crappy play into the first half of the AFC Championship Game before locking into a scary zone, playing an awesome second half and leading the Colts pass the Patriots. How did the Colts win the Super Bowl that year? They won because their defense and running game stepped up. They won because they allowed a combined 14 points in their first two playoff games and they had success running the football. They won in the Super Bowl because their top two backs combined for 190 yards.

This Colts team is carried by one thing: the excellence of Peyton Manning. Yes, they have great defensive ends and fast linebackers but overall their defense is only average (18th overall in total defense, 24th in rushing defense, and 14th in pass defense). They have the worst rushing game in the NFL. Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark are great players but Wayne is going to meet his match this weekend and Clark…well I hope Rex Ryan has something schemed up for Clark. The Colts are 15-0 this year when they play all their starters the full game, which is impressive as hell. Yet, this isn’t the 2007 Patriots who blew out everyone in every game (and remember how their season ended when they faced a team who could hit them in the mouth on both sides of the ball), this is a team who won 8 games that were decided by one possession or less, which is why you are crazy if you took the 7.5 points they are favored this week.

I think their magic in close games runs out this week. I think the team who runs the football and plays defense is going to the Super Bowl. I think there is something going on with this Jets team. The football gods are smiling on the smash mouth team who plays old school football and not the team who spit in the face of history by pulling their starters the final two weeks but then decided to throw a bunch of screen passes to make sure their top two receivers finished with 100 catches each. The Colts created a monster when they pulled their starters in week 16 and this week that monster is going into their building and killing their season.

Jets – 23 Colts – 20

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Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports