200 Miles From the Citi

January 20, 2010 7:14 AM


Ryan_Sanchez_SD.JPGNews: Shaun Ellis will play in the AFC Championship Game despite the broken hand he suffered in last week's game against the Chargers (you may have seen him return to the game with one of those club casts on Sunday).

Not News: Rex Ryan would be "shocked" if the Jets did not win the AFC Championship Game on Sunday.

ESPN needs to stop running it, the newspapers shouldn't make a big deal out of it - Rex Ryan believes in his team.  He should be shocked if the Jets lose.

Here are some reasons why I don't think he'll be shocked.

-Yes, there's still Peyton Manning.  Yes, there's still Reggie Wayne.  Yes, there's still Dwight Freeney.  But a lot of these Colts have not been in the big game (see: Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon, Donald Brown).  I have a ton of respect for Peyton Manning - he has the ability to make those around him better...but not this Sunday.  I've seen lesser Jets defensive teams shut Peyton Manning and better Colts offenses down come post-season time (I love referencing that 41-0 win in 2002)...I would be shocked if it didn't happen this weekend as well.

-The Jets got a taste of how good the Colts can be in Week 16...and I think they know it.  I think they know they dodged a bullet that the Colts were only up 15-10 when the starters sat.  I think Darrelle Revis had a terrible game - I think Manning overthrew Reggie Wayne a few times when he could have had big yardage (though I'll listen to the argument that it was the Jets' good coverage and pressure that forced Manning to make bad throws).  I think the Jets learn from that, and I would be shocked if the defense didn't have an even better outing this weekend.

-The Jets' running game is still solid.  It was the running game (albeit, late, when the Colts may have conceded the game even on defense) that helped the Jets to victory over the Colts in Week 16, and they've only gotten better since then.  Well, Shonn Greene has.  I'm not sure what's up with Thomas Jones (at least we can argue he's rested).  But that's been the Jets' key to success on offense - their running game, and more importantly, their offensive line.  If the Jets can grab an early lead, I would be shocked if Greene didn't bust another long run for a touchdown.

-Finally, you'd better believe these guys know how close they are to a championship.  They have to come out stoked up and ready to go, knowing they can beat the Colts.  Bottom line is, the Jets are in the AFC Championship Game, and the Jets deserve to win this game as much as Indianapolis.  The big thing - everyone expects the Colts to win.  That's a lot of pressure.  I would be shocked if the Colts didn't feel it.  And I would be shocked if the Jets didn't take advantage of it and advance to the Super Bowl.

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