The Indianapolis Colts travel to MetLife Stadium to take on the New York Jets in what could be a game that has the Colt playoff hopes hanging in the balance (1pm ET, Sunday).
Aided by the home field advantage boost, the Jets will look to win a crucial home game, something they have been unable to do this season.
With wins at Green Bay & Minnesota, Andrew Luck Shows No Signs of Being a Rookie
With the first pick of the 2011 draft, there was no question in anyone’s minds which player the Colts would choose. There was one name in the pool of entrants that was head and shoulders above the rest and only one quarterback that could be the future for the Indianapolis franchise.
So in the offseason the Colts said goodbye to future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and made way for Andrew Luck (pictured) and the beginning of his era in the blue and white. To mixed results, for the most part, this season has gone well for the young stud.
Luck began his rookie year and his NFL career with more hype than any player in recent memory. Unfortunately all that hype was met with reality when Luck found himself pitted against the stone wall defense that is the Chicago Bears. He managed to play well, throwing for 209 in 23 passes. He had a completion percentage of 51.1 but had only one touchdown to three interceptions.
It was Luck’s entry into the league and he performed admirably. Despite not getting the win, the rookie showed a lot of promise, promise that showed front and center when Luck faced off against the Minnesota Vikings.
Proving to be the biggest surprise in the NFL this year, the Vikings have been no slouch on defense. They rank sixth in opponent’s rushing yards and 15th in opponent’s passing yards. Luck didn’t let any of that stop him however as he threw for 224 yards, completed 64.5 percent of his passes and scored two touchdowns and no interceptions. He led the Colts to a win and as it turns out, this is the only loss the Vikings have surrendered.
Luck continued to play solidly against the Jacksonville Jaguars but the Colts ultimately came up just short. Sitting at 1-2 on the season, Luck kept the Colts playoff hopes alive by doing something that most veteran quarterbacks couldn’t even do the past few seasons and that is get a win against Green Bay and QB Aaron Rodgers.
This was really Luck’s coming out party to the league.
While he didn’t do anything spectacular to tear apart an absolutely decimated Green Bay defense, Luck did what needed to be done, allowing the Colts the chance for the game winning field goal. As he showed no fear at the task in front of him, Luck truly walked into this game a rookie and came out of it an NFL veteran.
In addition to Luck’s solid performances against Minnesota and Green Bay, the Indianapolis quarterback has also been extremely reliable in late game situations. Just like his predecessor, Luck has really shown an ability to zero in and focus when the game is close and a win is within reach.
On the season, these numbers amount to 40 of 64 passes completed for 476 yards in the final five minutes of the second and fourth quarter. Luck has three touchdowns in these situations and just one interception. He has led 13 drives to end the first half resulting in 37 points for the Colts.
What’s Worse, the Jets’ Offense or Defense?
Although the Colts are still pretty banged up on defense, the biggest storyline for this game is not whether their defense can hold up but rather if the Jets defense can keep points off the board while managing to score a few points at the same time.
In most statistical categories, the Jets are at the bottom of the rungs in either the offense or the defense and sometimes, even in both. With Mark Sanchez at quarterback, the Jets have the 28th worst passing attack averaging just over 201 yards a game. Their rushing attack isn’t much better as they are ranked 25th averaging just 83 yards per game.
On defense, the Jets have tasted some success allowing opponents just under 200 yards a game. That number is fifth best in the league. When it comes to defending the run however, the Jets lack of interior backs has really hurt them. They are second to last allowing nearly 173 rushing yards to opposing running backs.
Giving up on average 26.4 points a game while only scoring 19.6 has led to the Jets just winning two games this year. Their wins came against two AFC East division rivals: Buffalo and Miami. Their losses meanwhile came in the devastating fashion as they were crushed by San Francisco by a score of 34-0 and by Pittsburgh 27-10. They also lost to the undefeated Houston Texans by a score of 23-17.
And Then There’s Tim
Once again, the mere presence of Tim Tebow seems to be throwing yet another team into a frenzy. Just like in Denver when fans practically begged for him to start over Kyle Orton, fans in New York are echoing the same sentiment. Head coach Rex Ryan has on multiple occasions affirmed his commitment to quarterback Mark Sanchez but the question remains for just how long this commitment will last.
To put it simply, in many ways, Sanchez has been the worst starting quarterback in the NFL this season. He has a league worst completion percentage of 48.4 and has thrown just six touchdowns and six interceptions. He has also fumbled the ball three times. He has a league worst 28.2 QBR and a near deplorable 66.6 rating.
There is no guarantee Tebow will be any better as his career stats are on par with Sanchez. That said, Tebow has intangibles that you can’t teach and for some reason, whatever it is he brings to the game, worked for Denver last year. At this point, the Jets have nothing to lose and with a QB controversy like this, it can only be hurting the internal structure of the team.
Colts at Jets Picks & Preview Verdict
The Jets are actually favorite on the moneyline (-180 with BetOnline Sportsbook and Bovada) in this one and are given a handicap of -3points on the sportsbooks’ spread. They have home field advantage and are actually coming off a relatively good showing against the Texans. That said, their offense is unreliable and their defense is shaky. This is our preview’s pick:
- Bet on the Indianapolis Colts +3pts @ +105 with BetOnline Sportsbook or Bovada. Non-USA residents should join Bet365 for this wager.