Saturday, January 23, 2010

2010 NFL Playoff Preview: AFC Championship Game - Jets at Colts

Championship Sunday begins with CBS' pregame coverage at 2:00pm ET, live from Indianapolis. Immediately following the pregame show, the Jets will battle the Colts for a chance to go to Super Bowl XLIV in Miami.

New York Jets @ Indianapolis Colts, 3:00pm ET, CBS
Jim Nantz and Phil Simms in the booth.

The Jets are certainly the Cinderella of this ball, the only team playing for a chance at the Super Bowl that didn't have a first round bye. The team is clicking on all cylinders, behind a coach that is full of arrogance and confidence, which is translating to his squad's on-field play. They shocked the world when they beat a Chargers team that many thought could win the Super Bowl and will try to do it again Sunday.

But the Colts will be ready. San Diego played undoubtedly their worst game of the season last Sunday when they fell flat against New York. The Colts have something to prove. Not only do they want to show the Jets that it will be much harder to stun the world in Indy, but they also want to shut up everyone who said resting the starters was a bad idea and would backfire.

While Darrelle Revis is the star of the Jets' defense and will be charged with shutting down Reggie Wayne, the Colts have other receiving weapons. Pierre Garcon has emerged as a legitimate top target for Peyton Manning and Dallas Clark is one of the best pass-catching tight ends in the game. I see an outcome similar to when Revis absolutely locked down Randy Moss earlier this year, but Wes Welker still caught 15 balls for almost 200 yards.

Mark Sanchez will be forced to do something in this game. So far, the "Sanchise" has only had to manage the action, but if the Jets fall behind it will be up to the former USC QB to carry the load. It's been a great year for the rookie, but I don't think he's ready for that type of pressure. We've seen what happens when he starts forcing passes and it could be much of the same on Sunday for the Airplanes.

Prediction: Colts 35, Jets 17

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