AFC Wild Card Playoffs
New York Jets (6) at Indianapolis Colts (3), Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
Saturday, January 8, 2011, 8:00 pm EST, TV: NBC
Opening Line: Colts -3
Current Line: Colts -2.5
Opening Total: 44
Current Total: 44.5
Money Line: Colts -140 / Jets +120
The Indianapolis Colts (10-6) and New York Jets (11-5) will meet a couple rounds earlier in this year’s playoffs when they square off in Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday night. The Colts (-2.5) knocked off the Jets 30-17 last year in the AFC championship game and hope to win for the fourth time in the last five meetings even though one of those games was meaningless for them.
Indianapolis played a major role in getting New York into the playoffs a year ago, resting starters in the second half of a 29-15 home loss in Week 16. The Colts were 14-0 at the time and had already clinched homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. That edge ended up playing a pivotal role in helping them win the second time around and advance to the Super Bowl.
The Jets had higher expectations off that loss and heading into this season, but New England proved to be a much tougher opponent down the stretch in preventing them from winning the AFC East. So they enter the postseason as a wild card team yet again, playing a difficult foe on the road that has enjoyed a lot of success against them in the past.
In fact, Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning is 5-1 lifetime against defenses devised by New York head coach Rex Ryan. Maybe that is why Ryan said he is making this game “personal” in hopes of reversing his team’s fortunes and turning the tables on Manning and the Colts offense.
Manning threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns in the last meeting and has 12 touchdown passes with only two interceptions in six career games against Ryan, including time in Baltimore. He led Indianapolis to four straight wins to close out the regular season after the team’s postseason chances looked grim following a 38-35 home loss to Dallas in overtime.
The Jets were just 2-3 in their last five games to close out the campaign but pulled out an impressive 22-17 victory at Pittsburgh in the midst of that final stretch. Ryan’s team seems to be better than the Colts on paper, but trying to beat his old nemesis Manning will be the greatest challenge of his coaching career to date.
Insiders believe the best shot for New York is to come up with a similar offensive plan to last year’s playoff meeting, building an early lead through the air and then running the ball behind LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene. The Jets jumped out to an early 17-6 lead but did not follow through in the second half with the lead, totaling just 86 rushing yards on 29 carries. If second-year quarterback Mark Sanchez can overcome a lingering shoulder injury and learn from past experiences, he could lead his team to an upset and into the next round.
Now that you have read this AFC playoff football betting preview featuring the Colts & Jets, check out the NFL odds on this and all the games to compare the best lines at multiple sportsbooks.