Three things to know about next Sunday’s Jets-Colts AFC Championship Game:
1. The Jets can prove to the world they didn't back into the playoffs. The Jets can silence all of the naysayers who pshaw the Jets for being in the postseason to begin with. In Week 16, the Colts laid down like Brett Favre on Michael Strahan's record-breaking sack by pulling Peyton Manning with almost six minutes left in the third quarter.
But while the Colts were trying to win, they didn't exactly dominate. The Colts led 9-3 at halftime, and when Brad Smith returned the second-half kickoff 106 yards, the best of the Jets led the best of the Colts 10-9. The Jets know they caught a break when the Colts pulled back, but they also can find plenty from that game to feel confident about.
2. The Colts have a below-average run defense. Gee, will the Jets prefer to run or throw Sunday? The Colts had the 24th-ranked run defense, allowing an average of 126.5 yards a game. They held tight in the red zone, however, with only 10 rushing touchdowns against.
The Jets have the NFL's best rushing attack and have put together a pair of relentless playoff performances with Shonn Greene and Thomas Jones. Greene has rushed for 263 yards, most in the postseason. Jones ran for 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns in the regular season.
3. I've written it before; I'll write it again: Mark Sanchez can't be trusted when trailing by two scores. The Jets' defense has made their playoff success possible by keeping opponents off the scoreboard. Sanchez hasn't had to come back from more than seven points for three weeks, limiting the need for the Jets to abandon the run. The less Sanchez has to do the better. The last time he threw for more than 182 yards in a Jets win was on opening day. In his past four victories he has averaged 112.8 yards passing.