Last year, the New York Jets barely made the playoffs. Rex Ryan conceded the season, until someone informed him that his Jets team was still alive. The moon, sun and earth all aligned. The Jets beat the final two teams that they played, which was something that they had to do in order to make the playoffs. Additionally, all the teams that had to lose, lost. The Jets entered the playoffs feeling lucky to even have the opportunity to continue playing past the regular season.
In the Wild Card Round of the AFC playoff bracket, the Jets beat up on the Cincinnati Bengals team that it had just beaten only two weeks earlier. Next up was an even tougher opponent. The Jets traveled to San Diego to face a very talented Chargers squad. To almost everyone’s surprise, including my own, the Jets dominated the Chargers. Awesome!
Our next opponent was going to be the toughest one yet. The Jets boarded a plane to head back to Indianapolis to face Peyton Manning and the Colts. Many Jet haters had already been running their mouths weeks earlier when the Jets beat Indianapolis the first time and proceeded to make the playoffs. Those haters said that the Jets shouldn’t have even been in the playoffs and had only made the postseason because the Colts pulled Peyton in their first matchup. I wasn’t optimistic.
The Jets went into Indy and put up a great fight. They maintained the lead throughout the first half, but Peyton Manning was too much for the Jets to handle in the second half of the game. The Jets lost the game, and lost the opportunity to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
Flash forward one year. The Jets now have Santonio Holmes, Jason Taylor, Antonio Cromartie and LaDainian Tomlinson. Let’s also not forget that the Jets’ starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez, has an additional year of regular season and postseason experience under his belt.
The Colts, on the other hand, seem to have taken a step back in terms of skill and player personnel. Austin Collie, Gonzalez and Dallas Clark are all hurt. Addai’s been hurt frequently, as have Reggie Wayne and Garcon. Let’s also not forget that Peyton Manning is finally starting to show signs of his age. He’s still thrown 33 touchdowns this season, but has also thrown 17 picks. Regardless, he’s still Peyton Manning, and anything is possible, especially with him holding the reins.
Rex Ryan defenses have been dominated by Peyton Manning. Manning has been 6-1 against Rex, and that one loss came when the Colts pulled Peyton last year during the last game of the season. Hopefully, this time around, Ryan’s had enough time to plan an effective attack against Peyton.
The Jets have a tough matchup ahead of them. They had momentum in their favor earlier in the season, but after the New England game, things went downhill. Even saying all of that, the Jets finished 10-6. The Colts usually finish 12-4, but this year consider themselves lucky to be in the playoffs at 10-6.
Either way, this should pan out to be a great game. You have an offensive genius in Peyton Manning facing off against the son of one of the greatest defensive minds of all time in Rex Ryan. If the Jets somehow can get through Indy, things won’t get any easier. The Jets will have to travel up to Foxborough to face off against the Pats again. Let’s worry about that problem next week…