Here are the top three keys to victory for the New York Jets to beat the Indianapolis Colts in Week 6 action.
The New York Jets have only won two games this year, but when they do, they do it in impressive fashion. They exploded for more than 500 yards of offense in a 34-16 victory on Sunday against the Denver Broncos. The Jets will be looking for a repeat performance this week when they welcome the Indianapolis Colts into town.
The Colts are coming off a convincing loss against the Patriots. Andrew Luck needs some help this week if they look to bounce back against the Jets. There were several big plays that could have been if it were not for some easy drops by his receivers. The Colts were without star wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who is still questionable for this week’s game with a hamstring injury. If he does not suit up Sunday, it will be another long day for the Colts offense.
When looking at the numbers more closely, the Jets still have many lingering issues. Sam Darnold completed less than 50 percent of his passes, bringing his average down to 55 percent for the year. The defense was not on the field much, but they were getting gashed by running back Phillip Lindsay before the Broncos abandoned the run when things got out of hand. To say their recent win is a sign of things to come, think again. This is a young team who will have their ups and downs, so expectations should be leveled.
The Jets are more talented than these Colts, however, it will still take a full team effort to even up their record with a win on Sunday. If the Jets want to keep it going, they will need to stick to these top keys to victory.
3. Get to Andrew Luck
Luck is as good as they get when given time to make his reads. Even with a sub-par receiving corps, he has the ability to throw people open with his vision and accuracy. However, when put under pressure, anyone is capable of making mistakes.
With Hilton potentially out again, the Jets will be able to shift their attention to Luck. Leonard Williams needs to keep up his recent surge of three sacks in two games by creating consistent pressure up the middle. He will likely be double teamed so newcomer Henry Anderson should have some one-on-one opportunities on passing downs.
If the Jets can keep the pressure on Luck, there will be turnover opportunities for Jamal Adams and the rest of New Jack City.
On to the offense with our next key.
Next: Aggressive Offensive Playcalling
2. Aggressive Offensive Playcalling
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It seemed as though the Jets began to take the training wheels off of Darnold on Sunday. A noticeable change was the quick play communication, allowing Darnold a good 20 seconds to make pre-snap adjustments. This allowed him to make some great reads, and take chances in one-on-one matchups.
This week the Jets need to keep up this trend and give Darnold even more freedom to take those chances. In order to stay aggressive, the Jets need to allow their young gunslinger to throw on early downs to keep the Colts on their heels. Historically, the Jets are extremely conservative on 1st and 2nd down, relying on the run to set up 3rd and short situations. However, third downs are not ideal for a rookie QB.
The Jets should open up the game with a heavy dose of play action, with the Colts likely looking to slow down Isaiah Crowell in the run game. Darnold is on the verge of a breakout game, and there is no better time than right now. He needs to take his shots early and often against this spotty Colts secondary.
The last key will focus on the defense again.
Next: 1. Limit Eric Ebron
1. Limit Eric Ebron
With Hilton likely out again, Luck will surely look for some help from tight end Eric Ebron. After four average years in Detroit, Ebron came to Indianapolis looking to live up to some of his pre-draft hype. Last week was a breakout game, as Luck turned to him more and more as the game went on. He finished with nine catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns.
He now has five touchdowns on the year, and more than 10 targets in each of the last three games. The Jets will need to slow him down to keep the Colts in check. This can be done by treating him like the number one option he is.
Double teams are not out of the question, but at the very least they need to make sure Ebron is not matched up with a linebacker, as none of the Jets linebackers are known for their coverage skills. Look for Adams and Marcus Maye to shadow him throughout the game.
If the Jets can focus on these keys, they will be in great position for another win on Sunday. A win will not only put these Jets back to .500 but put them right back in the AFC playoff picture as we near the halfway point of what is commonly regarded as a rebuilding year.