Is there anything better than a weekend of playoff football when your team is involved? The correct answer is absolutely not, so here is hoping that everybody beat the snow home and is ready for a great two days of football, without carrying on anymore here is a very special edition of the 12 pack for Jets/Colts, along with the rest of my weekend picks —
1. Mark Sanchez is going to throw for over 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns against an over-matched Colts secondary. More importantly, he will protect the football and won’t have a single turnover.
2. Peyton Manning is going to throw for over 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Jets secondary. He will find the match-ups that he wants because he always does. However, Manning will throw an interception Saturday night to Antonio Cromartie.
3. Shonn Greene will have at least 18 carries and at least 90 yards to lead the Jets ground attack. LaDanian Tomlinson will have 10-12 carries and 3-5 receptions. Joe McKnight won’t be involved in the offensive game-plan.
4. The Colts won’t have a running back who finishes with more than 50 yards on the ground. However, they will make big contributions catching the football out of the backfield.
5. Jacob Tamme is going to have a big day against the Jets secondary, with at least 65 receiving yards and a touchdown.
6. Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards will both have at least 70 yards receiving. One of them will get into the end-zone on a big play of 30 yards or longer.
7. Reggie Wayne will have less than 50 yards receiving and won’t score a touchdown against Darrelle Revis. Pierre Garcon will beat Antonio Cromartie for one big play but beyond that will be relatively quiet.
8. Brad Smith is going to have one big kick return and break one big run on offense.
9. Robert Mathis will have a pair of sacks against Damien Woody as he struggles to return from his surgery.
10. Despite having a less reliable kicker, the Jets will outplay the Colts on special teams which will go a long to determining the outcome of this game.
11. The Jets will coach this game extremely aggressively, meaning they won’t hesitate to go for 4th and 1’s and potentially try a few trick plays. However, Rex Ryan being too aggressive on defense will burn them a few times for big plays.
12. The Jets are going win a close one that comes down to the final few minutes, 27-24.
NFL Wild-Card Weekend Picks
Jets (+3) vs. Indy
Saints (-11) vs. Seahawks – I don’t want to hear about the long trip, the crowd noise, or the injuries to their running backs, the Saints are a much, much better team than the 7-9 Seahawks who don’t belong anywhere near the playoffs.
Ravens (-4) vs. Chiefs – Kansas City will struggle to move the football and will have a difficult time stopping Ray Rice. The Ravens are simply a more experienced team, who is better prepared to win this type of game.
Packers (+3) vs. Eagles – I have been all about the Mike Vick show all year but I think he will struggle with Green Bay’s blitzing and the Packers offense will run up a bunch of points on an inconsistent Philadelphia defense.
It doesn’t take more than a few second of looking at ESPN to realize who the consensus favorite for the Super Bowl is: the New England Patriots. However, that doesn’t mean certain NFC teams aren’t receiving strong odds to win the Lombardi trophy.
When looking at Super Bowl Betting the defending champion New Orleans Saints are frequently the second highest favorite of odds-makers. Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons aren’t too far behind. Interestingly enough, the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles who are being picked by many to come out of the NFC, offer tremendous value as Super Bowl picks due to their low odds at many betting sites.
In the AFC, despite the Patriots recent dominance there are many teams capable of making it past them. The New York Jets have beat them earlier in the season. The Baltimore Ravens knocked them out of the playoffs last year and the Indianapolis Colts are always a threat with Peyton Manning behind center. Finally, don’t forget about the Pittsburgh Steelers who have plenty of experience in big games.
If you are looking to be really risky, the Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks are considered long-shot favorites to make it out of the first round, never mind make it to the Super Bowl.
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.