New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts Preview and Pick (AFC Championship Game)

NFL Football Betting Preview
New York Jets (9-7) at Indianapolis Colts (14-2)
Sunday January 24th, 3:00PM Eastern betting preview – Colts -8, 39 O/U

The AFC Championship Game will take center stage this Sunday afternoon when the Indianapolis Colts host the New York Jets in a match to determine which team is Super Bowl bound. The Colts have been the odds on favorite for most of the season to not only get to the Super Bowl, but they also are receiving the most favored odds at +120 to win the Super Bowl thanks to their NFL best 14-2 regular season record. The Colts are no surprise to be in this situation and they will look to capitalize on those high expectations.
They are led by arguably the best quarterback in the league in Peyton Manning and have a great supporting cast.

The Jets on the other hand will be carrying the big “underdog” title heading into Sunday’s game. New York at one time stood at just 4-6 this season and the thoughts of just making the playoffs appeared far-fetched. However, with the help of some great defense the Jets have come on strong and upset the heavily favored Chargers last week to earn their chance at an AFC Championship. While many think the Jets are still long shots to win the game, head Coach Rex Ryan says his team expects and will beat the Colts this Sunday.

Sure Coach Ryan has a cockiness that many people do not find too appetizing, but so far he has been pretty accurate with predictions for what his Jets will accomplish heading into each week’s game. Ryan believes the Jets defense will have an answer for the Colts offense and be able to get some pressure on Peyton Manning. If they do, they may be the first team all season to accomplish getting consistent pressure on Manning. However, the Jets defense has been tremendous since the halfway point of the regular season. The Jets held opponents to just 8 points per game during their final 6 games of the regular season and also gave up just 14 points in both playoff victories. Last week’s performance was the cream of the crop when the Jets held the Chargers explosive offense to a season low 14 points. If they can again get that type of success on the defensive side of the ball, there is no reason the Jets can not pull off the upset. Of course as Ryan stated, they must knock down Manning a few times if that is to happen.

On offense the Jets have been pretty mediocre for a playoff caliber team. The Jets have really played the field position game relying on their defense and allowing running back Thomas Jones to carry the work load. However since the postseason began, it has been rookie running back Shonn Greene that has provided the offensive sparks. Greene, the former Iowa Hawkeyes tailback, has carried the ball for 6 yards per carry and racked up 250 plus yards in the Jets two postseason games. Normally it has been Jones delivering that similar type of damage, but either way the Jets will look for their running game to deliver the offensive production. Also, it is ultimately imperative QB Mark Sanchez must protect the ball. Sanchez has not thrown over 200 yards but once in his last 9 outings. The reason is because he understands his role in the offense. The rookie must eliminate the turnovers that he was accustomed to earlier this season and let the running game when the overall battle. Of course a few big plays down the field could not hurt matters either and if there are any plays down the field WR Jerricho Cotchery will likely be the target.

Still, all eyes will be on the Colts offense. The Colts just dominated a great Baltimore defense last week in a 20-3 victory. QB Peyton Manning had another solid outing completing 30 of 44 passing for 246 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. Those numbers are actually a little under the norm for Manning who had a spectacular season throwing for 4,500 yards on the year. The Colts entire offense has just been unstoppable. From the time they break the huddle and snap the ball off is just remarkable. The pace of the offense definitely won the game last week as the Ravens never had a chance to read the offensive alignment. Manning had the ball snapped and pass completed many times before the Ravens defense was set. If the Colts can get into that type of rhythm again, there could be little hope for the Jets defense.

The key is the protection Manning gets from the offensive line. Manning was sacked a measly 10 times during the regular season so needless to say he is the most protected quarterback in the league. Baltimore got 2 sacks last week, but both times Manning hit the ground to avoid contact. The Jets must get some solid hits on Manning if they are going to disrupt the momentum. If not, Manning is going to pick the defense apart most likely with tight end Dallas Clark up the middle. Clark can shred defenses apart on those middle range passes when defenses do not get pressure to Manning. Therefore, once that happens the big plays open up for WR Reggie Wayne down the field and those plays are usually scores. So again, it all goes back to how well the Jets pass rush can get into the backfield so look for that battle up front to be the difference.

Pick – Expect a low scoring game as the Jets will attempt to do everything manageable to keep ball control. Still, even if the Colts offense gains rhythm I do not see their offense posting any big numbers. Take the under 39

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