The AFC Championship game is foreign territory for the New York Jets and their fans. Kinda like eating a salad for dinner is foreign for the residents of Indianapolis
. This year we understand that the turmoil we have perennially endured might make this potential run that much sweeter. Last week
I was fairly accurate on 3 of 5 Keys while off the other 2. The Jets were able to unlock a victory in spite of Gates having a good game and Sanchez committing a turnover. I'm fairly certain that Rex Ryan's 7,000 calories a day
diet is what really tipped the scales in the Jets favor (Pun!). You can expect the Jets to need to execute on at least 4, if not all 5 of this weeks Keys to defeat the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday at 3:00pm EST.
1) BIG Kickoff Returns-
Fine. So the Colts pulled the majority of their starters in week 15 and gave the Jets the win. You know who didn't get the night off? The Colts special teams. You know who else didn't get the night off? Strippers who really needed the money so they can put themselves through night school so back off. The money's good! They were most certainly on the field (Colts Special teams, not strippers) when Brad Smith torched them for a 106 yard kickoff return touchdown. Brad Smith is going to have to distinguish himself from his average namesake and make a similarly game breaking play that makes me jump up like a crazy man while having a legitimate excuse to knock some ones beers over due to the overwhelming excitement. Feely pinning the Colts deep in their own territory
is a good idea as well.
2) Don't Worry About the Nickel If You Have a Dime at Home-
This means two things. One, the biggest concern on the Colts' injury report is CB Jerraud Powers (foot), who didn't practice Wednesday. If he can't play, that means rookie free agent Jacob Lacey likely will start. Two, Mark Sanchez will have plenty of dimes
to choose from
if he takes his team to the Super Bowl
even if the Jets lose. Just like in the previous games, there will be some key passes in 3rd and long (where Indy will play a nickel defense) that Sanchez must complete. The fact that the Colts are putting a rookie out there with even less experience then Mark could be the difference from keeping a drive alive or the football equivalent of going home with Palmala Anderson. (not a typo)
3) One Colts Missed FG-
Its no secret that the Jets have had serendipitous outcomes after the opposing teams kickers line up on 4th down. Kickers are 0-5
vs the Jets in the playoffs. People have labeled the Jets lucky and perhaps they are, but it cannot be any more evident now that a kicker's success can make or break a game for their team. The bottom line is - if your kicker sucks and chokes then your team isn't good enough to win. The same way a safety can time his jump wrong on a pass in the endzone and that
isn't good enough to prevent the other teams WR from catching it. Matt Stover is the Ravens castoff kicker who the Colts picked up mid season after Adam Vinatieri hurt his
knee. Stover is 21-27 in the playoffs throughout his career for a 80% average as opposed to a lifetime regular season average of 83%. THIS MEAN HE CAN POSSIBLY FALTER UNDER PRESSURE. PUT THE VOODOO SPELL
ON HIM REX!
4) Proper Pettine Plan
When orchestrating an aggressive game plan, under appreciated and otherwise unknown Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is indubitably influenced by his head coach's tendencies. It's similar to the way his head coach is influenced when choosing what Italian restaurant
to go to - whatever one offers the largest portions of course. Yes, Peyton must be stopped but don't forget it was RB Joseph Addai who ripped a 21 yard TD run in week 15. What will be instrumental is how Kerry Rhodes handles the TE Dallas Clark now that he and his coach are buddies again
along with how Pettine and Ryan find a way to disrupt the timing of the all Colts wide receivers in general. The one thing we do know is that the real DPOY has Reggie Wayne stranded
5) Mark Sanchez Must Have Better Overall Game Then Peyton Manning-
I am not sure I've ever scribed a Key that is this far-fetched in my 3+ years of writing 5 Keys articles. To think that a rookie who hasn't blown anyone's socks off statistically could perform better then one of the best QB's of all time is preposterous. I must be off my fuckin rocker to even conceive a thought so outlandish and just plain retarded. But am I? Yes, probably. It really is up to Rex Ryan, Pettine and the Jets #1 pass defense to do better then Larry Coyer and the Colts #15 ranked pass defense. I'm not saying Sanchez needs to have more yards then Peyton or even throw more touchdowns. This certainly won't happen. But to mitigate mistakes in key spots and to make throws that extend drives while instigating Peyton to do the exact opposite is plausible.
Jets Flight Crew Maxim Photo Shoot
J_E_T_S JETS JETS JETS!
Prediction - Jets 26 Colts 23