Sunday, October 14, 2012

Gameday Deciding Factors: Colts at Jets


The New York Jets are in borderline desperation mode, sitting at 2-3 and decimated with injuries. Meanwhile, the Andrew Luck-led Indianapolis Colts, who are coming off a big-time upset victory over the Green Bay Packers last week, have nothing to lose. Gang Green looks to stay relevant in the conference and the division when it hosts the Colts for an early-afternoon showdown between two teams that are still trying to find out who they are.


Keller factor. Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has been missing his favorite target in tight end Dustin Keller since Week 1. Keller is expected to return Sunday from an injury hiatus, which should give New York's offense a much-needed boost. Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano will try to get him involved early, not only to get Keller warm, but to help get Sanchez into some sort of rhythm.

Go Greene. New York's offensive line hasn't performed up to par in the run game, but most of the blame is falling on running back Shonn Greene, who has been incredibly underwhelming the past two years. The Colts are giving up 4.7 yards a carry this year, so there's no better time than now for Greene to pick up some steam. If he doesn't, Bilal Powell could find himself in a starting role by the bye week.

Cro. vs. Wayne. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie has filled in admirably for the injured Darrelle Revis, who will not be returning to the field this season. Cromartie will be up against veteran wideout Reggie Wayne this week. Wayne has gotten a bunch of work in the slot this year, so if the Jets plan on sticking Cromartie on Wayne all game, he'll be moving around plenty before the snap.

Rattle the rook. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has solid command of his offense, but he is still a rookie. Rex Ryan has been known to dial up clever stuff against fresh-meat signal-callers, so we'll see if Gang Green's defense throws some exotic looks and blitzes at Luck. Luck has been hit 26 times this season but sacked only nine, meaning he stands tough in the pocket and gets the ball off in the face of the rush.
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