It's down to only two in the AFC. This one is for the right to play in Miami and grab a Super Bowl trophy.
The Indianapolis Colts had no problem dealing with a scrappy Baltimore Ravens squad last week, winning 20-3. The Colts defense came up big. Out in Cali, the New York Jets pulled off the one upset of the weekend when they knocked off the uber-hot San Diego Chargers. Now, they'll meet in Indy to settle the AFC score, and the score from the newsworthy Week 16 contest.
New York Jets @ Indianapolis Colts
3:00 PM ET, January 24, 2010
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
The Jets represent the underdog in the NFL's final four. But don't tell head coach Rex Ryan that, he's been telling us they should be a favorite since before the first playoff game kicked off. The supremely confident Jets are led by their league-best defense, and shutdown corner Darrelle Revis. Revis' ridiculous interception last week only underscored what we know, don't throw in his direction. But will Payton Manning be listening? There's no one with more confidence at QB than Manning, so we'll see if he challenges Revis, and what the results will be.
On the flip side, rookie QB Mark Sanchez has done exactly what he's supposed to do, drive the bus. He has one directive, don't make mistakes. The Jets' bus is loaded with a stalwart defense, a powerful offensive line, a pair of good backs; the rookie QB's job is to get that bus across the finish line without crashing it.
So far so good, reports Gang Green Nation.
...Sanchez was terrific against the Bengals. Against San Diego...he didn't do a ton. The important thing is he has looked comfortable and confident. He looked overwhelmed at times in the middle of the regular season. The Colts game seemed to be a turning point. Mark realized how good his defense and run game are. If he avoids making dumb decisions, the Jets have a great shot at winning. The Jets don't need him to do much, which makes his situation a lot easier than many rookies have.
The Colts made news back in Week 16 when they took a pass on a perfect season and pulled all their stars from a game. That game just happened to be against the Jets. If the Jets lose that game, they might not even be in the playoffs. So the Colts get a second-chance to kill the Jets' Super Bowl hopes, they get to kill a monster of their own making.
After much hub-bub about the Colts' decision back then, and whether they would be rusty after the bye and a long layoff for some players, the Colts looked in good form against Baltimore. The defense really turned it up and stifled the running game. But, winning the Divisional round wasn't really the goal, says Stampede Blue. Winning the Super Bowl was the goal when the Colts gave up on the perfect season.
You gave up and quit on a meaningful game back in December not because you simply wanted to beat the Ravens in the Divisional Round. You did it to win the Super Bowl, and anything short of that means the "quitting" strategy was a failure. By benching starters in the way it was done in a game fans, media, and players very much wanted to win, the excuse you gave afterward was that rest was more important for the long haul; the long haul obviously being the Super Bowl.
For a good statistical look at the Jets defense, follow this link.