Yeah, I know it's been a while, but let's get back into the swing of things with the NFL before it disappears. The AFC Championship game is set to go with the Indianapolis Colts hosting the New York Jets. I doubt many people had the Jets getting this far, but with their beat down (physically) of the Chargers, you really can't say much. The Colts got here by beating a one show pony Baltimore Ravens team. The Ravens probably could have won this game had it not been for the penalties and the turnovers. Let's see how this AFC Championship game will turn out.
NYJ - The Jets are limited from a passing standpoint with rookie senior Matt Sanchez at the helm, but he has shown flashes. The Jets will continue to run the ball with both Thomas Jones and Shonn Green and minimize the rookie's opportunity to make mistakes (think Ravens 2000-2001).
Colts - Manning. That's pretty much all you have to say. He may go down as the best ever and he shows that by continuing to play football. He lost his favorite target in Marvin Harrison this year but hasn't missed a beat with Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark. The more surprising piece is that he's done it with Garcon, Collie, and other guys off the street. Eli Manning had no such luck. I expect Manning to run a lot of hurry up sets to give the Jets defense fits. Amazingly, look for Addai or Brown to get between 20 carries combined.
NYJ - The Jets were one of the top defenses at the beginning of the year and then fell off. Well, now they are back. I will say this, Ryan can scheme against any QB and I'd bet on his team's success most of the time. They will try and confuse Manning and hide their blitzes. The Jets are going to start blitzing Manning sometime today. Look for the match up of Revis on Wayne to help determine this game.
Colts - Bend but don't break, that's the Colts' defense motto. Well, they are going to have to stop the run primarily. Robert Mathis and Gay Brackett are going to need to have big games. I'm not so concerned with the Jets passing the ball because they should be able to get pressure on Sanchez.
NYJ - I will be 'surprised' if we lose to the Colts. Well, you can say what you want, but Ryan is deflecting all of the attention to him and not his team. That's something a good coach can do. Will it work? Not so sure, because his team has to go out and back up the bravado. I like Ryan from an X's and O's in a one game playoff, but can he scheme his team to the Super Bowl?
Colts - Jim Caldwell has pretty much picked up were Tony Dungy left off. Steady wins the race. Caldwell seems to have made great decisions for his team to keep them healthy and ready for a Super Bowl berth. Many thought that the perfect season was more important than winning it all, but the Colts are now in a position to make people forget about a perfect season if they can get a ring.
And the winner will be:
Colts. Yes this should be a close game with the defenses setting the tone, but I only bet against the other (Eli) Manning. I think in the end that Colts offense will out play that Jets defense and advance to the Super Bowl. Final score, Colts 24 - Jets 13.
That's my pick, what's your take? Do you think the Jets pull the win out? Maybe they are able to surprise yet again? Can the rookie, Mark Sanchez lead his team to the Super Bowl?