Saturday's AFC Wild Card matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and the New York Jets will be a sellout. Over 60,000 raucous Colts fans will pack Lucas Oil Stadium to cheer their team to a playoff win.
The Jets are seeking redemption after losing to the Colts last year in the AFC championship.
The Colts find themselves as the underdog for the first time in a few years. With major injuries to several of their key players, just making the playoffs was the goal for the Colts this year.
The Jets have a formidable running combo of LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene. They will seek to use these two as their main offensive threat since quarterback Mark Sanchez is unpredictable. Throughout the season, Sanchez seemed at times as if he had no idea what he was doing on the field; at other times, he positively controlled the game and showed flashes of being a future Pro Bowler.
The Jets need a win in Indianapolis, and this feat is achievable, but they will most likely face their division rival New England Patriots with a win Saturday. They beat the Patriots in New York in Week 2 but were pummeled at New England in Week 13, 45-3, a game in which Sanchez was intercepted three times.
Getting to Sanchez is the key to unlock a Colts win. Six-time Pro Bowl selection Dwight Freeney will seek to get to Sanchez early in the game, forcing him to make unnecessary passes and hasty offensive decisions. When the Colts make big defensive plays, it starts a momentum swing that will be critical in a big playoff game.
Peyton Manning, ultimately, will determine his team's fate. If he has a good game, the Colts will win; if he forces passes, the Colts will most likely lose.
The Colts have not lost in the Wild Card Round since 2003, a game in which they lost to none other than the New York Jets 41-0. They are at home now. The game is in their hands. The Colts will decide their own fate.
A win for the Colts is indeed attainable, but they must stop the Jets' run attack, as well as defensively gain the momentum early.
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