Jets vs. Colts: AFC Championship Game Breakdown

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First a few updates:

1. The Jets practiced outside today for whatever reason. Shaun Ellis, Kerry Rhodes, David Harris, and Bart Scott were all limited in practice, while everybody else was full.

2. New episode of TOJ TV is on the way tonight and yes we went real big for the AFC Championship Game.

3. Herman Edwards and Tedy Bruschi both picked the Jets on ESPN…obviously, I am not surprised about Herm but Bruschi? I don’t know, maybe he is trying to jinx us. Speaking of Herm, how could I not throw this clip in?

4. The NFL Network is replaying Super Bowl III on Saturday night if you are looking for some historic confidence in the Jets upsetting the Colts.

5. How I have used my time so far this week: 40% Reading/Listening to Jets Coverage, 40% Working on Site, 15% Sleep/Re-watch old episodes of LOST to get ready for the new season, 5% School/Work…it has been a good week. This around the clock Jets work is messing with my dreams. Last night I had a lucid dream I was in the slot with Braylon out wide, we were running double slants, Sanchez threw it out to him, Braylon caught it, broke a tackle andwas off to the races…good sign, or am I just delusional? We will find out Sunday.

Jets vs. Colts: AFC Championship Game Breakdown

PhotobucketOffense: North and South is the key this week. The Jets have to go right up the middle at the Colts defense. Brian Schottenheimer, throw out the reverses, tosses, and stretch plays because you aren’t beating this defense going sideline to sideline. It is time to work that inside running game. The Jets must repeatedlysend Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene right at the Colts defensive tackles and the defensive ends. Hopefully, the Jets can wear down Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis which will make them less effective as pass rushers. There is no need for the Tiger Formation or any option plays this week either. Teams have scouted it out and it hasn’t been effective in recent weeks so let’s not throw away yards.

I know most people would like to see Shonn Greene simply start the game, get 30 carries, andjust forget about Thomas Jones. However, Jones is the guy who wears on the defense andsoftens it up for Greene with his 15 carries. Beyondthat, it is important to keep Greene in the 20-25 range which will keep him fresh. You need a 1-2 punch in the NFL, especially with how often the Jets run the ball. Also, despite it not being a major factor in the Jets offense, Jones is a better receiver out of the backfield.

The Jets must get yards on first down to help set up manageable third downs for Mark Sanchez. There is no reason the Jets can’t successfully throw the ball in third and 4-6 situations. If the Jets can have Sanchez take short drops and get rid of the ball quickly, they have favorable match-ups on the outside and should be able to have a high conversion rate. Look for Jerricho Cotchery working that short option and intermediate comeback route often when the Jets need to throw, while Braylon Edwards has been effective on deep in routes and slants. One tendency the Jets must find a way to break is when they decide to take their deep shot to Edwards on the post route. Every game the Jets throw the ball to Edwards deep when they are around the 50 yard  line and it is 1st and 10 or 2nd and short. Teams are starting to expect it. The Jets have to mix it up when they take a shot because if they can get Edwards one on one and he decides to catch the football, they could be in great shape.

Defense: Similar to last week, the Colts are going to get their yards but it is key for the Jets to make them kick field goals instead of letting them score touchdowns. Everytime the Colts settle for 3, it will be a huge victory for the Jets. They also can’t let them get that classic touchdown before the half, which the Colts always score to take the momentum. The Jets must do a better job against the run than they did in week 16. Indy will try to counter the Jets blitz with draw plays and quick screens, which they always find a way to burn teams with. Regardless of how efficient the Colts passing game is, if the Jets can stop the run like they did against San Diego they will be in good shape by making them one-dimensional.

It has been well documented how difficult it is to sack Peyton Manning. However, the Jets must at least put some pressure on him, hit him and force him to rush a few throws. Manning does throw interceptions (he only threw 4 less than Sanchez this year, and we all know how many he threw)…and the Jets cannot, I repeat cannot, drop balls that could be intercepted. They need to take advantage if Manning throws a ball to them and run it back to set up easy points for their offense. Another key for the Jets is they need to be physical with the Colts receivers. Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon, and even Donald Brown out of the backfield are all young guys and there is no reason they can’t be rattled in a big game by a few big shots over the middle.

Dallas Clark is obviously an extremely difficult match-up and the Jets did a poor job against him in week 16. I still think the Jets should occasionally slide Darrelle Revis over to Clark and then double Reggie Wayne. I am not worried about Wayne when he is one on one with Revis but you can’t be stupid enough to leave him one on one with anybody else. Kerry Rhodes is going to need to step up with another big game both in coverage and when he is sent at the quarterback. The Jets defense moves to another level when Rhodes is playing up to his potential.

Special Teams: I really think the Jets could swing the game here. I don’t know if it is going to be a fake punt, a big kick return or punt return, a blocked punt but if the Jets can steal some points here, they will be in great shape to pull off the upset.

Believe In The Upset