AFC Championship Preview
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Jets at Colts
When Jets have the ball... The Colts may have gotten a tuneup for the Jets' style of offense when they beat the Ravens last weekend. Baltimore RB Ray Rice managed only 67 rushing yards. He had only 13 carries, five of them in the second half, as the Colts took control of the game late in the second quarter and forced the Ravens to try to catch up. The Jets would be helped by getting off to a good start that would enable them to keep running the ball with RBs Shonn Greene and Thomas Jones while limiting the passing attempts by rookie QB Mark Sanchez. Greene has 263 rushing yards in the postseson, the most in the league. Sanchez has thrown only one interception in two playoff games after throwing 20 during the regular season. He'll need to limit his mistakes again and continue to be efficient. His passer rating of 92.2 during the playoffs is actually better than the 87.9 rating that Peyton Manning had last week against the Ravens in the Colts' lone game during this postseason.
When Colts have the ball... The Jets allowed Chargers QB Philip Rivers to throw for 298 yard and a TD last weekend, but intercepted him twice. The Jets led the NFL in passing defense, total defense and scoring defense during the regular season and were in the game against the Colts in Week 16, trailing by 15-10 in the third quarter, when the Colts opted to begin resting for the playoffs. The Colts might not have been at their absolute sharpest last week against the Ravens while playing all-out to win for the first time in nearly a month. But they did what had to be done, with Manning throwing TD passes to WRs Austin Collie and Reggie Wayne in the final two minutes of the first half to take control of the game and coast from there. Wayne likely will be matched up often with Jets CB Darrelle Revis, who was second in the voting for NFL defensive player of the year. The Jets plan to have DE Shaun Ellis play with a broken left hand.
Special teams... The Colts have sat down the most renowned clutch kicker in NFL history, Adam Vinatieri, who underwent knee surgery during the season and was replaced by Matt Stover. The job has remained Stover's during the postseason and he connected on both his FG tries last weekend. He's not a long-distance kicker but he's about as reliable as anyone. The Jets have benefited from five missed FGs by their opponents, the Bengals and Chargers, in two playoff games. The Jets also have a usually reliable veteran in Jay Feely, who made 30 of 36 FGs during the regular season.
Coaches... It's the first matchup of rookie head coaches in a conference championship game. The Jets' Rex Ryan has grabbed the spotlight with his straightforward talk that has made him a New York media darling. The Colts' Jim Caldwell mostly avoided attention until sparking a national sports debate when he pulled Manning and other key players against the Jets in the second-to-last game of the regular season, keeping them healthy for the playoffs but ending the Colts' pursuit of a perfect season.
Prediction... The Jets have been a great story with their postseason run but Manning is to play a full game this time. He and the Colts get back to the Super Bowl, 24-14.
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Posted by: mergulhaobreckenfeld | January 22, 2010 3:55 AM
Posted by: tomniederberger | January 23, 2010 9:59 PM
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