The Road to Dallas Begins In Indy
Florham Park, N.J.- This time last week it appeared as if the Jets 2011 playoff experience would begin in Kansas City. Considering the nature of this NFL season maybe no one should be surprised that the Jets will instead have to travel to Indianapolis this Saturday.
If the Chiefs, who were 7-0 at home, had just beaten the Raiders in Kansas City like expected the Jets would have been playing against the Chiefs. The Chiefs however couldn’t get the job done as they caught a severe beat down from the Raiders, giving Jet fans more of a reason to wish they were playing the Chiefs instead of the Colts.
Both teams are dangerous in their own way and present very different challenges to opposing teams, but the Jets matchup much better against the Chiefs, even after the Jets attempt to design a team structured to beat the likes of the Colts. Still the Jets are probably a better football team than both the Chiefs and the Colts, but of the three teams only one of them has Peyton Manning.
“And of course, I know you can’t mention Indianapolis without saying Peyton Manning.” Rex Ryan said, “I know he’s there, but I’ve seen him many times at the Pro Bowl and you know what’s funny? I respect the heck out of this guy, but it’s like I’m a beat him one day and I just hope it’s this Saturday.”
In almost every way you look at it the Jets should easily have the edge over the Colts, except of course for the most dangerous possible way.
The Colts defense has journeyed way past suspect and the Jets should have no trouble running the ball to set up the pass, assuming that’s the game plan they implement. On the other side of the ball, the Colts have trouble running the ball, don’t have the best o-line protection and some of Manning’s most trusted targets are out with injuries.
Reggie Wayne is among the best receivers in the league, but Darrelle Revis should negate his presence and Antonio Cromartie should be able to keep Pierre Garcon under control for the most part. With two of Manning’s most trusted go to receivers out, tight end Dallas Clark and WR Austin Collie, the Colts passing attack doesn’t possess the same fully stocked arsenal of weapons as they did last season which clearly plays to the advantage of the Jets.
“Every team in the league has had injuries, us included, but to be honest I don’t feel sorry for them.”Ryan said, “We’ll see hopefully we match up better than we did last year.”
But again, they still have Manning. Manning is having a less than average year by his standards, but he is still among the smartest and most dangerous quarterbacks as this league has ever seen. With Manning behind center the Colts can never be counted out as he is one of the select quarterbacks that can just snap into video game mode and dissect whatever type of defense is thrown at him.
No one is doubting that this has been a down year for the Colts and everyone is aware their injury problems are holding them back, still it appears as if no one is giving the Jets a chance to win this game and maybe that’s the best thing the Jets and their fans can hope for.
“I’ve been doubted all my life, so that’s fine, we’ll see. All I have to do is answer the bell on Saturday, we will answer it as a team.” Ryan said, “I respect everyone’s opinion, but the only one I care about is my own.”
Maybe it’s a New York football thing, but whatever it is the Jets seem to play better when everyone is counting them out. There’s really no reason why this team should be counted out though, this game is far from a gimmie for either team, but it’s understandable that people would pick Manning in just about any situation.
“Do I recognize that we’re playing a good football team, and one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the game? Of course I recognize that, but we’re not going there to lose, we’re going there to win.” Ryan confidently boasted.
“Again, I’m not apologizing for feeling this way. I believe in our football team, again I know that’s an excellent team we’re playing, but their getting our best shot and that’s as simple as that.”
Many reporters keep harping on Sanchez’s sore shoulder, but considering how he has played in the two games after being hurt and basically taking last week off it appears that it’s only those reporters who are concerned about the shoulder.
“Well I think he is going to be 100 percent, I do.” Ryan said when asked about Sanchez’s shoulder. ”Here I am with my percentages again, but I believe he will.”
With all the self-inflicted hype that surrounded the Jets since before training camp even started, many people view this regular season as a bit of a disappointment for the Jets seeing as they are the number six seed and will have to travel to Indy, New England, then most likely either Pittsburgh or Baltimore to reach their target destination of Dallas. Ryan doesn’t see it that way though, would he have liked to have a first-round bye and host every playoff game? Of course, but the only thing that means anything about the regular season is that these teams all get to keep playing and as history has taught us, anything can happen from there.
“This season when we talked about the goals and everything else, was about this point right now.” Ryan said, “Everything we talked about was getting to this point right now and we’re here, I can’t express how excited I am about this opportunity.”
Yes, Ryan has admitted before that this year’s team was built to beat teams like the Colts, but he made sure to stress that there was a bigger goal than just beating the Colts.
“Well, not just beating the Colts. We don’t just pay lip service, we want to win the Super Bowl and so we want the best team we can possibly put together with that in mind.” Ryan said, “Now are we there? No we got a long way to go, but we’re ahead of a lot of teams, we’ve already made it into the playoffs, we’ve won 11 regular season games and we’re going to give this thing a shot. We believe that we’re going to get this done.”
The Jets most certainly have their work cut out for them. With the daunting task of beating three straight playoff teams on the road, but if they can finally get every phase of their team in synch at the same time they are going to be a tough out for any team and that’s exactly what this team and their coach are counting on to get them to Dallas.