When the Indianapolis Colts look out of their bus windows at the familiar Meadowlands structure Sunday morning, they might think, "been there, down that." Once they actually get inside the stadium however, the illustriously raucous Jets fans should quickly change the Colts
The Colts conquered East Rutherford already this season in week one's heralded "Manning Bowl." Older brother Peyton topped sibling Eli'sGiants 26-21 in a nationally televised match-up. Ironically, this means that the Colts currently have a better 2006 record (1-0) at the Meadowlands than the Jets (0-1) do.
Needless to say, those 78,622 screaming fans at Giants Stadium in the opening week certainly can't compare to a sold out Meadowlands with Green & White followers.
"The Jets fans are completely different than the Giants fans," said third-year safety Erik Coleman. "We have a real rowdy group and it's really hard to prepare for that once our fans get going and really get into it. We really do appreciate stuff like that."
"You have the Giants crowd and you got the Jets crowd - those are two entirely different crowds," added cornerback Justin Miller. "We have diehard fans. It's great going into this game knowing we have that added support. We know they will be there when we need them."
Granted the fans – no matter how hard they try – will not have the capability to directly change the scoreboard. They are however, very influential when it comes to supplying the home team with energy and hopefully causing the opponent to get a little discombobulated. And no one does it better than Jets aficionados.
"They add to the momentum of the game, especially when you're doing well," said receiver Justin McCareins. "Hearing that Jets crowd supporting us is definitely a motivator. Having their support always plays a large role in our confidence and momentum.
"It's a pretty distinct advantage for us just having them there," he added. "Jets fans make it incredibly tough for the opposing offense to get their job done."
That perceptible advantage will be welcomed this weekend. The Indy offense is averaging 30.0 points per game, which places Tony Dungy's club second in league scoring. Also, when it comes to third downs, the Colts are second to none with a 63.4% third down conversion percentage. On Sunday, Manning is sure to spot inclement waves of green and white when the play clock starts.
"Those are Jets fans - that's expected," said defensive co-captain Jonathan Vilma. "They're going to be there through thick and thin, good or bad. They always have and they always will be. They'll be fired up - I don't need to get them hyped."
In the Jets' home opener against New England, Eric Mangini saw his team fall behind 24-0 in the third quarter. What he also saw was a packed house of loud fans - all the way till the end. It was a good thing, too, because the Jets mounted an impressive comeback before running out of time. McCareins wasn't at all surprised.
"It was great; it's a testament to the Jets fan base," he said. "They stick around for us, believing that we aren't going to give up no matter what part of the game we're at."
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