Chad Pennington and Peyton Manning, both recipients of the AFC Player of the Week award this season, square off in what promises to be an aerial war. The last time they met, in 2003, the two quarterbacks combined for 620 passing yards and four touchdown throws, none shorter than 28 yards.
Good teams find ways to win, and both clubs were able to offset sluggish starts and sputtering running attacks with big efforts from the defenses and special teams units in Week Three. Can the Jets follow the New England formula to victory? How badly does Indianapolis miss HB Edgerrin James? A win by New York will establish them as a viable contender for postseason play while the Colts cannot get caught looking past what appeared to be an easy match-up in preseason.
Match up #1
DE Dwight Freeney (6'1", 268 lbs) vs. LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson (6'6", 313 lbs). This match-up should be a no-brainer, an All-Pro pass rusher against a rookie lineman. But Freeney's upper leg injury limited him in last week's game, allowing him only to move in a straight line. Ferguson is fluid in pass protection and has the long arms to challenge Freeney's outside rip move. Expect New York to help Ferguson with draws and a halfback chip block if the rookie cannot hold his ground against Freeney's bull rush.
Advantage: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Jets.
Match up #2
HB Joseph Addai (5'11", 215 lbs) vs. LB Jonathan Vilma (6'1', 230 lbs). The rookie back did not have many opportunities to shine last week against the huge Jacksonville front, but should fair better against a Jets defense that has struggled at times against the run. Addai accelerates quickly to the hole, can change directions on one step and lifts his feet in the hole to avoid low tackles. Vilma is undersized has problems with separation when the offensive linemen engage him three yards off the line of scrimmage. With the quality of the Colts receiver unit, it will be up to Vilma to shut down the inside run without support from the safeties.
Advantage: Joseph Addai, Colts.
Match up #3
WR Reggie Wayne (6'0", 198 lbs) vs. DC David Barrett (5'10", 195 lbs). Barrett started the season as a nickel back but has moved to the starting lineup due to his toughness in run support and his ability to redirect receivers in press coverage. Wayne uses a double move to get off the jam to the slant pattern and has enough speed to challenge Barrett deep. With WR Marvin Harrison drawing double coverage, the Jets must decide to offer Barrett help over the top or risk TE Dallas Clark running the seam route against a linebacker.
Advantage: Reggie Wayne, Colts.
The Match-up Chart
Time of Possession
Things to Look For:
Chad Pennington: In two career starts against the Colts, Pennington has 152.9 passer rating with six touchdowns and no interceptions…He had a perfect passer rating (158.3) in his last start against the Colts in November, 2003.
Laveranues Coles: Coles is 1st in the NFL in receptions (24) and 2nd in receiving yards (331)…He and Jerricho Cotchery have the second most combined receiving yards of any NFL duo behind the Colts Harrison and Wayne.
Kevan Barlow: As a member of the 49ers, Barlow was 18-99 rushing in a game against the Colts last season.
Shaun Ellis: The Jets are 9-4 at the Meadowlands when Ellis has a sack.
Peyton Manning: Manning has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 115 of his 131 career games…with one touchdown pass this week he will have thrown 250 career TD in 132 games, the second fastest player to that number behind Dan Marino.
Marvin Harrison: Harrison needs three receptions to move into 4th place on the all-time career receptions list…With his first reception he will tie Marshall Faulk for most consecutive games with a reception to start a career (158)…He needs 134 receiving yards to make he and Manning the first duo in NFL history to combine for 800 completions and 11,000 yards.
Dwight Freeney: The Colts are 26-8 when Freeney has at least one sack.
Teams: Peyton Manning has a 6-3 mark against the Jets, but Jets Head Coach Eric Mangini compiled a 7-2 record against Manning and the Colts in his time as a member of the New England Patriots defensive staff from 2000-2005…the Colts have won six of the last eight meetings in the series…the last time the Colts visited the Meadowlands to play the Jets was in the 2002 NFL Wild Card Playoff, a 41-0 Jets win. That's the last time the Colts were shut out in any game, regular or postseason…the Colts are converting an NFL-best 63.4% of their third down attempts, more than 15 percentage points higher than the next best team (PHI).
Friday Injury ReportJets*Questionable: CB David Barrett (thigh), WR Laveranues Coles (calf), RW Tim Dwight (hamstring), OL Pete Kendall (thigh), S Kerry Rhodes (thigh), DB Derrick Strait (thight), & OL Trey Teague (ankle) *Probable: *DL Dave Ball (hand), *RB Kevan Barlow (calf), *LB Matt Chatham (foot), *OL Anthony Clement (shin), *CB Drew Coleman (hand), *DL Shaun Ellis (hip), *DL Bobby Hamilton (knee), *QB Chad Pennington (calf) & *DL Kimo von Oelhoffen (knee)
Out: DT Corey Simon (knee) & S Bob Sanders (knee)
Questionable:T Ryan Diem (thumb), C Dylan Gandy (abdomen), CB Nick Harper (ankle), * DB Kelvin Hayden (groin), DB Marlin Jackson (concussion), DB Tim Jennings (knee), DT Dan Klecko (low back), G Ryan Lilja (knee), *DT Darrell Reid (elbow), *G Jake Scott (knee), WR Brandon Stokley (ankle), *DE Josh Thomas (hip), & *K Adam Vinatieri (R groin)
Probable:LB Freddie Keiaho (knee), *LB Gary Bracket (thigh), *TE Ben Utecht (groin) & *RB Dede Dorsey (ankle)
* Denotes players who participated in practice