It is hard to dispute that second year running back Shonn Greene has had a disappointing season. The numbers don’t lie, 766 yards, 4.1 yards per carry, 2 rushing touchdowns, a long run of 23 yards. We all expected more from him.
The reasons for his low output vary, including a slow start that was coupled with LaDainian Tomlinson playing better than expected. Greene never really had the reigns handed over to him as the primary back and he was rarely given a chance to get into rhythm by the coaching staff.
Regardless, it doesn’t take a great memory to remember how the Jets got to the AFC Championship Game last year. Greene led the charge on the offense with two monster playoff games.
There is one encouraging stat for Greene heading into the playoffs: 185…that is the number of carries he has received this season, which means he should be fresh for this Saturday night. He flashed a little bit of his 2009 post-season self in week 16 against the Chicago Bears with 12 carries for 70 yards, in a performance that made you wonder what he could do with 20 carries.
There should be nothing left to wondering this week. Greene is built to run north and south at the Colts small defense and average linebacker core. Nobody is saying LaDainian Tomlinson should be completely phased out of the game plan but this is the week to give Greene the 20 carries, let Tomlinson have 12-13 and throw him a few passes.
A 20 carry, 120 yard performance from Greene will quickly erase the memory of a disappointing regular season. I just hope the coaches give him a chance to do it.
The Jets didn’t hesitate this past off-season to add players who would improve their roster. There has been generally mixed results from the team’s new additions but the Jets need all of them to have big games Saturday night —
Santonio Holmes – 52 receptions, 746 yards, 6 TDs
The addition who made the most positive impact. Holmes made the game winning play in three games this season and has been everything the Jets traded for him to be. However, “Tone Time” as he likes to call it needs to carry over into Saturday night. Let’s be honest here, the Colts can’t double team Holmes because of the presence of Braylon Edwards and Dustin Keller, and if he is consistently left one on one, he should shred up the Indy secondary.
Jason Taylor – 36 tackles, 5 sacks, 3 TFLs, 2 FFs, 2 FRs
It was a somewhat disappointing season from Taylor, despite him having his moments like a game clinching sack against New England and a key safety against Pittsburgh. Regardless, the Jets need to put some type of pressure on Peyton Manning and Taylor remains arguably their best pure pass rusher. The Jets can’t afford to have him no show Saturday night. A big time effort against Indy makes his signing entirely worth it.
Antonio Cromartie – 42 tackles, 3 INTs, 17 passes defensed
Cromartie had a pretty good overall year for the Jets defense and did admirable work while Darrelle Revis banged up, covering the opposing team’s number one receiver. There hasn’t been a ton of big plays but Cromartie has a positive history against Manning and is a major upgrade over what the Jets had opposite Revis last year. A strong game from Cromartie is going to severely limit what the Colts can do on offense.
Brodney Pool – 53 tackles, 1 sack, 11 passes defensed, 1 INT, 1 TFL
Personally I was very disappointed with Pool for a large chunk of the year, yet he has played better as of late. Kerry Rhodes was torched all over the field against the Colts last year and the Jets need Pool to play a disciplined game alongside Eric Smith at safety.
LaDainian Tomlinson – 914 rushing yards, 368 receiving yards, 6 TDs
Tomlinson exceeded most of our expectations this year with nearly 1300 total offensive yards and 6 touchdowns. He remains valuable in the passing game and should be a good change of pace from Shonn Greene, who is better fit for the bulk of carries this week. All I know is that LT better not being standing on that sideline with his jacket and helmet on, like we always remember him doing in San Diego.
There has been plenty of talk this week about how the Jets structured themselves this off-season to beat the Indianapolis Colts. They added Antonio Cromartie, Kyle Wilson, and Brodney Pool to help cover his receivers and brought in Jason Taylor and eventually Trevor Pryce to put more pressure on him. It is true, that on paper those additions should help and you would hope the Jets defense can hold Peyton Manning to less than the 30 points they allowed in the AFC Championship Game.
However, it is hard to see this Jets defense turn this game into low scoring battle. The Colts are going to get their points and likely end up somewhere in the mid to high 20s on the scoreboard. Yet, what people forget about when discussing how the Jets built themselves to beat the Colts is how their offense is now better equipped to run up points on the Indianapolis defense.
The first thought when playing the Colts is rightfully to run the football down the throat of their 25th ranked rush defense and keep Manning off the field. Despite this, the Colts have been better as of late stopping the run and there is no reason to handcuff Mark Sanchez in this game.
Let me be clear, I am not saying the Jets should come out slinging the ball 45 times. However, the Jets must mix in a downfield passing attack to complement their running game because the potential for big plays will be there.
The Jets were able to complete big plays last year in the AFC Championship Game and now have Santonio Holmes as an additional weapon, LaDainian Tomlinson catching passes out of the backfield, and most importantly an improved Mark Sanchez. You can attack this Colts secondary, which has been a revolving door all season because of injuries. They simply don’t have the personnel to match-up with Braylon Edwards, Holmes, Dustin Keller, and Jerricho Cotchery. Yes, I am aware of their pass rush but we do have a Pro-Bowl tackle in D’Brickashaw Ferguson and held up fine against the Steelers pass rush and Julius Peppers, without Damien Woody who will now be back in the line-up.
Look at the stat-lines for the quarterbacks who have faced the Colts the previous seven weeks —
- Week 17 – Kerry Collins – 28/39, 300 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs
- Week 16 – Jason Campbell – 29/42, 231 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs
- Week 15 – David Garrard – 24/38, 294, 2 TDs, 1 INT
- Week 14 -Kerry Collins – 28/39, 244 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs
- Week 13 – Jon Kitna – 18/26, 167 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs
- Week 12 – Philip Rivers – 19/23, 185 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs
- Week 11 – Tom Brady, 19/25, 186 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs
Don’t be afraid to air it out a little bit this week Schotty.
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Finally, the NFL playoffs are here…here is how TOJ sees the 12 teams ranking heading into Wild-Card Weekend, along a few more thoughts on Jets/Colts and the other match-ups –
1. New England Patriots – The unquestioned favorite to win the Super Bowl, New England couldn’t be any hotter at the moment. I have to think the Patriots would love to see the Jets coming back into their building and will be hoping to avoid the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round.
2. Atlanta Falcons – The other number one seed will have a tough road to reach the Super Bowl, likely starting with either New Orleans or Green Bay.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers – A much needed week off for them to rest injured players. You have to wonder if their offensive line can hold up for a Super Bowl run.
4. Chicago Bears – The least talked about team with a bye as a serious Super Bowl contender. However, Chicago will be tough to beat in their building if Jay Cutler is on his game and their pass rush remains active.
5. Baltimore Ravens – Ray Rice has picked it up over the last month and they will need him leading the way on offense, if they want to win the road games necessary to reach the Super Bowl.
6. New Orleans Saints – The defending champs won’t have their home field advantage from a year ago but are still a team nobody in the NFC wants to see coming into their building.
7. Philadelphia Eagles – Everybody is a little down on the Eagles from the previous few weeks but they are too explosive on offense to ignore as a very legitimate Super Bowl contender.
8. Green Bay Packers – They are playing well at the right time and are going to be a handful for any team they face. Yet, being so one dimensional on offense could haunt them this time of the year.
9. Indianapolis Colts – Nobody in the AFC South took advantage of a down year from the Colts who still found a way to 10 wins and a division title.
10. New York Jets – They actually are a lower seed than they were a year before despite having 2 more wins.
11. Kansas City Chiefs – All the makings of a one and done team.
12. Seattle Seahawks – 7-9, yuck.
New Orleans at Seattle – You could talk about the long trip New Orleans has to take and how loud Seattle’s crowd is all you want but at the end of the day, the Saints are a significantly better team in every way imaginable. It is honestly hard to see this game even being entertaining into the second half. However, this is the NFL and crazier things have happened than a 7-9 team potentially led by Charlie Whitehurst knocking off Drew Brees and the defending champs.
Jets at Indianapolis – It is nice to see the early overwhelming confidence of the football world in the Colts. The Jets fit better into the underdog role anyway. This match-up isn’t sitting as badly with me as it did a few weeks ago, especially after watching the Colts against the Titans yesterday. It would be a big step in Rex Ryan’s coaching career if he could knock off Peyton Manning in playoff game. I do know this, one and done is absolutely considered a failure for the Jets season with all the hype around the team.
Baltimore at Kansas City – I have a very tough time seeing the Chiefs being ready to knock off an experienced team like Ravens, despite being at home. It is too easy to picture Ray Rice having a big day and Baltimore’s defense rising to the occasion to limit Jamal Charles and Dwayne Bowe’s production.
Green Bay at Philadelphia – It is between this and Jets/Colts as the best game of the weekend. This should be a fun one, where there won’t be a shortage of points. I could really see this going either way, especially if Green Bay’s blitz gets after Mike Vick early and often.
We say it all the time here at Turn On The Jets, when it comes to our team…it is never easy. Instead of getting to face the inexperienced Kansas City Chiefs in the first round, the Jets are now slated to travel into Indianapolis to face Peyton Manning, the same site where their season ended only a year ago.
The best player on the field this Saturday night will be Manning and he has the ability to completely take over a game, as we know all too well. However, the Jets are a better team than they were last year when the Colts knocked them out and the Colts aren’t as good of a team. Mark Sanchez should be heading into this game with tons of confidence, considering how well he played in Indianapolis in last year’s playoffs. I’d like to see the Jets have plenty of Shonn Greene heading north and south on the Colts defense, which is built on speed not size, which will also help keep Peyton Manning off the field.
A run first approach should open up down the field play action passing to Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes, who will both have favorable match-ups on the outside. In terms of the Jets defense, they are catching a huge break with Austin Collie and Dallas Clark being out of the line-up. However, Jacob Tamme is still a threat and the Colts seem to have an ability to roll receivers through and still get production. Antonio Cromartie should handle Pierre Garcon better than Lito Sheppard and Dwight Lowery did in the past and Darrelle Revis should match-up with Reggie Wayne.
The road to the Super Bowl is going to require beating the two best quarterbacks in the NFL, in their building. Nobody said it was going to be easy, but hey for the second year in a row, when the playoffs come around…this is a Jets town.