200 Miles From the Citi

January 22, 2010 7:30 AM


Colts_O.JPGThere's a reason I'm in front of a keyboard instead of on the sideline somewhere coaching a football team.

But I believe there are times when I can break down a game with the best of them.

So today and tomorrow I present to you the approach each of the final two AFC teams needs to take to get to the Super Bowl.

Saturday we'll look at the Jets. Sunday will be my Championship Game picks.

Today we look at the Colts.

First of all, start Peyton Manning over Curtis Painter.  I just have a feeling on that one.

The Colts are a far better offensive team than the Jets.  (Understatement.)  However, they have the tougher task of going up against the Jets' defense.  The Colts need to get on the board first - actually, they need to get on the board a couple of times first.

You saw what happened when the Chargers let the Jets hang around...heck, the Colts even saw what happened with that, only leading 15-10 in the third quarter in Week 16 (not to mention just 9-3 at halftime).  The Jets are good enough to take advantage of being in the game late.  So you have to take them out of the game early.

Dink and dunk is the way to go.  Darrelle Revis on Reggie Wayne?  So what - throw Dallas Clark, Austin Collie, and Pierre Garcon across the middle and just pick up yardage and march down the field.  Antonio Gates was able to do it at times last week, before he disappeared.  Wes Welker was the best at it this season...the Jets really haven't stopped it.  Then, take your shots at Revis' side.  I don't care what people say about Revis' shutdown ability down the stretch - he did not have a good game against the Colts.  I'm not sure he's figured out Wayne.

I'm also not sure the Jets have figured out the Colts on defense.  They only moved the ball consistently on the ground late in the game - they sure couldn't stop Dwight Freeney.  Mix up your looks on defense, and I bet Freeney gets a couple of untouched rushes right at Mark Sanchez.  If the plan goes well and the Colts are up early, those sacks will turn into dumb rookie plays by Sanchez, which equals turnovers.

The final thing to watch out for is on special teams - the Jets gave themselves life in Week 16 by returning the second half kickoff for a touchdown.  You can't let that happen again - it's too much of a momentum shifter in a game like this.  So be extra careful on special teams to not give up the big play.

If the Colts come out and play the way everyone knows they're supposed to, this one won't be close - Colts 38, Jets 13.

Ah.  But they won't.  To see the winning game plan, check back tomorrow for the Jets' attack.

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