Even with their wins over Minnesota and Green Bay, the Colts are being picked as a 3.5-point underdog; CBS has them losing by 7 in their weekly preview. Their score (17-10) would be an interesting outcome, especially because:
– it would be 7 points less than the Colts’s lowest score this year
– since week 1 against Buffalo, the Jets have scored 10, 23, 0, and 17 points and are 1-3.
– since week 1 against Chicago, the Colts have scored 23, 17, and 30 points and are 2-1.
I’m not saying the Colts will win, but that the game line looks a lot more probable than a low scoring, seven point match. With Brown out, the Colts will have … well, roughly the same sort of running game. I still think Brown has a lot of talent (it was fun watching him against Green Bay), but I think the run will serve the same purpose as usual – keeping the defense honest, and not much else. Meanwhile, Shonn Greene, averaging 2.9 yards a carry, will be rushing against a 19th ranked run defense. What happens when a mostly-stoppable force hits a quite-moveable object?
Speaking of mostly-stoppable, I can’t see Freeney affecting much of this game. Sanchez is good for a few sacks, usually, but Freeney often moves too far in, letting quarterbacks and runningbacks take advantage of his side. If the Jets can establish a good ground attack, Freeney will probably sit a lot of this one out. The Colts should focus on shutting down New York’s run game early, pressuring them to target recievers Shilens and Kerley. Their defense will win or lose them this game.
The offense is still important, but I’m not worried about Cromartie. Wayne was the top reciever in the Colts/Bears game and last week (you might have heard), but Avery was the top WR against Minnesota, and Hilton, against Jacksonville. The Colts, last week, had seven players with a catch; against Minnesota, six. In their loses, they had seven players with catches (and in the Jacksonville game, Fleener wasn’t one of them). In other words, they spread the ball around. Wayne was matched against Woodson last week, and did okay. Remember that?
Finally, the Colts have managed to score in almost every possesion that they’ve needed a score. In the last minute of the fourth quarter, they’ve managed 14 points on three possessions, including a 30 second drive after Minnesota tied the game. If they keep the game close, I can easily see them putting together a drive with about 5 minutes left to go to win the game, providing the Jets don’t throw an 80 yard pass right at the end.
Have the Jets won every game they should have won this year? Well, yes. Lost every game they should have lost this year? Well, yes. Should they win this game? Well … yes.
I’m thinking Colts 24, Jets 19.