1. Jets Get Cornered –
Since last season's loss in the AFC Championship Game, the Jets have revamped their defense specifically to handle the multiple receiver sets of the Colts. Trading for cornerback Antonio Cromartie and drafting Kyle Wilson in the first round were personnel moves to bulk up the Jets coverage and nickel packages. How the Jets can control Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon and Reggie Wayne – who have combined for 236 catches this year – will be crucial to giving New York a chance to win on the road. "From a starting standpoint and depth standpoint, we probably feel better about it this year than we did a year ago," defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said.
2. Ground & Pound –
On Wednesday, head coach Rex Ryan said that his running backs are rested and ready to give a pounding, something that he couldn't say this time last year. In fact, Ryan gave LaDainian Tomlinson the option to rest last Sunday against Buffalo or go for 1,000 rushing yards on the season. "That's not important to me," Tomlinson said. "What's important to me is playing in this tournament and having that opportunity to win the championship." Last year, Shonn Greene ran for a Jets high 41 yards in the playoff loss to the Colts before being injured in the third quarter, an injury which changed the game. Without Greene's rushing, the Jets lost the ability to eat up clock and move the chains, meaning that the high-flying Colts offense spent more time on the field then the Jets would have liked. If the Jets can run the ball and eat up clock, they can win, and Ryan said that he'd like to limit Indianapolis to seven possessions.
3. Sanchez's Shoulder –
It was impossible to tell last Sunday how Mark Sanchez's shoulder was holding up as the Jets quarterback threw just one pitch and everything else was a handoff, far from showcasing his arm strength. Sanchez, who injured his throwing arm three weeks ago in Pittsburgh, played through the pain in the win over the Steelers and then performed well in Chicago the next week. The second year quarterback looked good in practice this week and was zipping the ball well. "I think the weekend off, if you will, was kind of good for him," said offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. "I thought he has been real into it - real sharp today."