I don’t expect you to blindly trust me on this play as I am a Jets fan, but I’ve got this game circled since June. I said the Jets have a better chance at winning against the Colts than against the Browns. I don’t bet them blindly and will stop when I notice that I don’t have a good read on them. For instance, I have the Redskins circled to beat the Jets in week 6.
New York Jets +7 -108
Some guys who followed my posts had noticed that I am not very high on the Colts, because I believe they are a mediocre Football team that lived from comeback wins by their QB and a cupcake schedule over the last three years. Without the Jaguars and Titans games, the Colts are 25-18 SU & 21-19 ATS since Andrew Luck joined the team.
I have done an analysis of all the games when Andrew Luck played against good coverage defenses, because I believe the Jets will be a good coverage defense this season. As an indicator I took the “Pass Coverage Grade” number from Pro Football Focus as I believe this is a pretty accurate number. Last season they had Browns, Patriots & Broncos in the top-3 which was pure reality. I looked at all the games Andrew Luck and the Colts have played against teams with a pass coverage grade of 25+ over the season. 25+ indicates a good coverage defense. The teams were in 2012: CHI, GB. In 2013: SF, SEA, ARI, CIN. In 2014: DEN, NE, CLE, DEN, NE. BUF last week. The Colts’ record & Lucks’ stats in those games:
5-7 SU, 22.3 PPG, 55% completions, 5.7 NYPPA, 20 TD, 16 INT
The Colts have won 2 of those 11 games by more than 7 points: 24-13 against the Broncos and a hurt Peyton Manning, 27-7 against the 49ers when Andrew Luck had 5.6 NYPPA but Colin Kaepernick had 1.1 NYPPA less. Over the last eight games against top coverage defenses (the Colts should have progressed, don’t you think?), the Colts are 2-6 SU and got outscored by almost 14 PPG.
Key matchup #1: Jets passing defense vs. Colts passing offense
You have to blitz Andrew Luck. Good that the Jets have a coach who is a genius in blitzing. Rex Ryan blitzed Luck on 53% of his dropbacks last week and Luck answered with 9/23, 118 yards, 1 TD & 2 INT. His QBR was 34.3. When Bowles played against Luck in 2013, he let his Cardinals blitz him on 67% of his dropbacks. They held Luck to 3 points in the first half, he completed 6 of 15 passes for 42 yards. The Cardinals won 40-11 at the end. The Colts have a very weak offensive line which plays directly into the strength of a Todd Bowles defense. Bowles will open the gates of hell.
How about the secondary matchup against the Colts WR corps? I am capping it with TY Hilton playing. Do you remember the last two games when Andrew Luck faced a secondary led by Darrelle Revis? His Tight Ends had 50% of the receiving yards and the Colts were held to 20 and 7 points. How did that work? Well, Revis was shutting down Reggie Wayne (first game) and Donte Moncrief (second game) on the outside while Kyle Arrington shut down TY Hilton in the slot with a safety over the top for a spy. This is exactly what the Jets will try to do tonight and I am not afraid about the possible absence of Antonio Cromartie. I would prefer him sit tonight. Marcus Williams was a beast in training camp and maybe the biggest surprise. I had live ticker from every practice and I couldn’t count the amount of interceptions and defended passes he occured. Darrelle Revis will be on Andre Johnson and the Jets will line Buster Skrine up in the slot on TY Hilton. Skrine is a very good and underrated slot defender. I expect him to have decent succes against Hilton tonight. Then you have either Cromartie or Williams on the outside on Moncrief which is a very solid matchup. With all the pressure Todd Bowles will be sending, the secondary should have a good game. Expect Leonard Williams to get his first sack today. Last week he had a terrible matchup against Joe Thomas and Mitchell Schwartz.
Key matchup #2: Brandon Marshall against Vontae Davis
To all guys who said the Jets offense didn’t put up good numbers last week: 1. they played against a very solid defense and a good coverage. 2. Chan Gailey showed nothing. His play-calling was pretty vanilla, because the Jets just had to take care of business against the Browns. They were perfect in the red zone, scoring 31 points on RZ attempts. Gailey called like 3 nice passing plays and Fitzpatrick executed 2 of them perfectly to Eric Decker. Chris Ivory wore the Browns down, kept them busy and Gailey looked to expose the terrible matchup of Haden (5’11”) against Marshall (6’04”) and he was successful. Marshall has beaten Haden terribly with his height and body. Fitzpatrick delivered the throws perfectly to exploit this mismatch. Guess who is also 5’11”? Yes, Vontae Davis. And Gailey will try to exploit this matchup against Brandon Marshall. I tracked some games back when Vontae Davis defended tall receivers against the Texans (Andre Johnson), Chargers (Keenan Allen), Bears (Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery) and Detroit (Calvin Johnson). Those receivers went 30/42 for 511 yards, 5 TD and one INT. Vontae Davis has been a Pro Bowler, but he struggles to defend big receiver. Chan Gailey’s gameplans often have the intention to let the #1 WR dive. So I obviously expect the first 100 yard game for Marshall as a Jet. Guess against which team Ryan Fitzpatrick had his best game in 2014? Yes, against the Colts. He was beating Vontae Davis with fade and back-shoulder throws to Andre Johnson and had a very good game. The Colts don’t have a good pass rush and this Jets OL looks very solid thus far this year. From what I’ve heard now, Chris Ivory is expected to play and he will be moving the Colts who struggled to defend the Bills’ running game. Ivory will keep them busy and Gailey will call a nice designed pass here and then. They should try to keep Andrew Luck sidelined, the matchup is definitely given. Other than Vontae Davis, the Colts don’t have a stout secondary. Devin Smith comes back and is expected to see some snaps. Watch out for those plays. He probably won’t see targets but he will stretch the field and get the attention of a safety to let Fitzpatrick hit Decker on crossing and post routes.
Maybe some people expect the Jets flying high because of the win against CLE. But that isn’t the case. Todd Bowles had a very conservative locker room speech, saying “it was a win, but not a perfect one. Have a good day and then we will meet again tomorrow, because we have a lot of work to do”. I’ve got a feeling that they are very focused on this game. They have everything to lose here as the underdog but the Colts are already under pressure. A 0-2 start would be a nightmare for them.
Andrew Luck and the Colts always struggled against good coverage defenses and I expect the same today. The Jets offense is good enough to score here in a solid matchup against a soft Colts defense. I can see the Jets scoring 21-28 points here, so the Colts would have to score 27-35 based on my prediction and this is something I just don’t see. I like the Jets to win this game straight up and also put a few bucks on the moneyline. Give me 27-21 Jets.