Looking ahead to this Sunday, the New York Jets will travel to the midwest to face the Indianapolis Colts. The Jets will have their hands full with an underrated Colts team that is coming off a great performance against the Minnesota Vikings, beating them 28-11.
The Colts look a little different this year with veteran quarterback Philip Rivers under center. The Jets are decimated with injuries as starting wide receiver Breshad Perriman joins Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims, Le’Veon Bell, and Vyncint Smith on the sideline. Center Connor McGovern and right tackle George Fant are also unlikely to play. Sam Darnold and stud offensive lineman Mekhi Becton will be playing with a bunch of journeyman players and are 10.5 point underdogs.
Indianapolis Colts Preview
The Indianapolis Colts offensive strength is their run game. Even with Marlon Mack out for the season, rookie Jonathan Taylor and speedster Nyheim Hines have been running the ball effectively behind an amazing offensive line led by All-Pro Quentin Nelson . Gang Green did a poor job stopping the run last week, as they allowed an 80-yard run the first play from scrimmage and allowed a 55-yard run on 3rd and 31. Outside of Quinnen Williams, the Jets pass rush was flat out non-existent, allowing the Niners to constantly move the ball on third down last week. The Jets struggled mightily against the pass in Week 1 and 2. The Colts will look to expose New York’s weakness. The Jets don’t necessarily have the most athletic coverage linebackers. The Jets are counting on cornerback Pierre Desir to have a big game in his return to Indianapolis.
Last Sunday, the New York Jets lost to the San Francisco 49ers 31-13. The offense showed some promise last week, especially on 1st down. It seemed like there were big holes behind Becton, but running back Frank Gore would run up the trenches and consistently get 4-6 yards. Rookie La’Mical Perine showed some burst last week and head coach Adam Gase said he hoped to get him more involved.
Sunday will be another pivotal game for Sam Darnold. Darnold will be lacking star power, but great quarterbacks elevate the players around him. Adam Gase needs to put Darnold in a position to succeed. Gase’s playcalling needs to be more flexible this week. Let Sam Darnold throw on the run and rollout. Also, let Darnold throw the ball downfield and utilize more two tight end sets. He made an incredible touchdown pass to sneaky wide receiver Braxton Berrios, showing off his greatest strengths: Improvisation and throwing on the run. Darnold played a lot better against the 49ers than he did in Week One. He looked poised and was able to move the chains. He needs to stack these types of games. One of Sam’s best games was his rookie season vs. Colts where he threw for three touchdowns.
Gang Green needs to start fast. They have not had a lead yet this season and have been tied for less than ten minutes. The defense needs to get that first stop. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will have to blitz the immobile Philip Rivers and force him to make quick decisions. While the Colts looked amazing last week, they did lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week One. The Colts have been known to play down to their opponents. On defense, the Indianapolis have a strong front seven with DeForest Buckner leading the way. Unfortunately, safety Malik Hooker tore his Achilles last week, leaving a giant hole in their secondary.
For the Jets to be successful on Sunday, they will have to establish the run. The Jets have found a star in Mekhi Becton and they must utilize him. If the Jets can get the run game going, it will help Sam Darnold immensely. Adam Gase must capitalize on the success of the run game and set up play-action. The Jets cannot throw screen passes and throw to the flat on 2nd and long. With play-action, the Jets can get tight ends Chris Herndon and Ryan Griffin the ball up the seam. The Jets should test the backup Colts’ safeties. If Adam Gase wants to be successful on Sunday, he will have to play to Darnold’s strengths and allow him to make throws on the run. If Darnold plays well, the Jets may shock a couple of people.