Jets vs Colts: Top 3 keys to victory for New York

By Ryan Patti

Aug 7, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker (87) in action against Indianapolis Colts free safety Delano Howell (26) during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets vs Colts game should definitely be a classic game on Monday Night Football. The Jets are coming off of a much-needed opening win over the Cleveland Browns in which they hope to build on heading into Week 2. After a shaky start, Gang Green’s defense flexed their muscles forcing four turnovers and laying the wood on just about every Browns offensive player.

Travis Benjamin was really the only guy to give Cleveland production racking up 89 yards and a touchdown on just three catches. Johnny Manziel hit Benjamin deep on a 54-yard score down the sideline where Antonio Cromartie was left in the dust. That may have been the only big play by the Browns, but the task will be a lot tougher for the Jets in prime time action against the Colts.

Despite how poorly Indianapolis played in Buffalo last week, they still have Andrew Luck running the show with their hometown crowd behind them. With that being said, the Jets are still by far the underdogs in this matchup. Injuries on the defense to Cromartie and third-round rookie Lorenzo Mauldin will not help their cause either.

However, if New York can draw up a game-plan very similar to the one their old friend Rex Ryan drew up, they have a chance to pull off the upset. Here are three things the Jets must do to get the job done Monday night.

Next: 3. Avoid Vontae Davis

Jan 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Indianapolis Colts cornerback Vontae Davis (21) reacts against the Denver Broncos in the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Colts defeated the Broncos 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

3. Avoid Vontae Davis

On Sunday, Davis put Bills wideout Sammy Watkins on an island shutting him down from start to finish. As a result, Buffalo completed only 14 passes on the day while Watkins was targeted just three times in a dud performance. What makes Davis so talented is his physicality that no other corner league-wide with the exception of Darrelle Revis possesses.

The two may not have the speed most elite defensive backs have, but the ability to jam and press at the line of scrimmage effectively helps the entire defense. This gives the pass rush more time to get to the quarterback and the safeties freedom in the middle of the field to ball-hawk. Regardless of the poor Week 1 performance, Davis can make the Colts entire defense look good.

Assuming he plays, Chris Ivory should remain the Jets’ featured player on offense. In the matchup vs. Cleveland, he carried the ball 20 times for 91 yards and two touchdowns. Brandon Marshall played like he normally does, even against All-Pro Joe Haden, but nothing will come easy this week against Davis. When Ivory isn’t touching the ball, Eric Decker and rookie Devin Smith will have to move the chains consistently if New York wants to start the season 2-0.

Although, it all starts with avoiding Davis.

Next: 2. Pressure Andrew Luck

Aug 7, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) is tackled by New York Jets outside linebacker Quinton Coples (98) after covering up a bad snap during the first quarter of a game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

2. Pressure Andrew Luck

When any quarterback is under pressure, the result is normally a very positive one for the defense. However, when you don’t pressure Luck, your defense will always get gashed. Quarterbacks in the highest tier in Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning will always hurt the defenses who blitz only three or four play after play.

Week 1, Rex sent six or seven guys constantly to disrupt Luck. The Colts were shut out until the end of the third quarter and Luck was hit a total of six times. For the Jets to get a similar outcome, Muhammad Wilkerson, Damon Harrison and Leonard Williams will have to cause havoc on the interior while Quinton Coples and Calvin Pace pressurize from the outside.

Look at Luck’s feet. Cant set to deliver accurate pass (this one sails). #Jets need to collapse with Mo/Leonard

— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) September 16, 2015

In the picture above, you can see Luck getting forced by the Bills’ pass rush to throw off his back foot. Pressure from the outside forces him to stay in the pocket and a missed block inside prevents him from stepping up. Essentially, he has nowhere to go but backwards.

Tight man coverage with Revis and Buster Skrine can additionally help the pass rush given the fact that the wideouts would get jammed at the line. A hurried, off-balanced Luck is the biggest step for the Jets in coming away with a huge victory in Indianapolis.

Next: 1. Cover the tight ends

Sep 28, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts tight end Coby Fleener (80) catches a pass for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Colts defeated the Titans 41-17. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

1. Cover the tight ends

Forgetting about the tight ends is a huge mistake many teams make against the Colts. Defenses focus too much on T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief and the other weapons regardless of how dangerous Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen are, specifically in the red-zone.

Last season, both had eight touchdowns a piece to go along with 1,169 combined yards. In response, Marcus Gilchrist and Jaiquawn Jarrett will have to rise to the occasion. Week 1 was not friendly to the Jets’ safeties, so a bounce back performance is a must. Four catches for 51 yards from Browns’ tight ends Gary Barnidge and Jim Dray is nothing for New York’s secondary to be proud of.

If Hilton does end up sitting out, there’s no excuse whatsoever for Fleener and Allen to dominate. Revis will be glued to Andre Johnson the entire night, and Skrine should be able to handle Moncrief. Dorsett is another athletic specimen in the Colts’ receiving corps, however, Marcus Williams could be in line for another big game.

This leaves the likes of the safeties and Demario Davis to handle the tight ends throughout the night. Even with no Cromartie, the Jets are more than capable of containing the Indianapolis passing attack, but leaving Fleener and Allen open can dig them in a hole early. Head coach Todd Bowles needs to enforce the importance of blanketing the tight ends.

Next: Fantasy Football: Early impressions on Chris Ivory

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