New York Jets at Indianapolis Colts (-7, 45.5 o/u)
The New York Jets (1-0, 0-0 away) and Indianapolis Colts (0-1, 0-0 home) got off to very different starts this season. The Colts, who are supposed to possess one of the more lethal offenses in the NFL, were shutout until halftime during a 27-14 loss at Buffalo. The Jets, pegged to finish fourth in the AFC East, road their solid defense and strong run game to a 31-10 win at home over the Browns. The Jets will look to stay hot, while the Colts aim to turn things around, when they clash tonight at Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday Night Football (8:30 PM Eastern).
Indy QB Andrew Luck, coming off a dreadful playoff loss to the New England Patriots that ended his team’s 2014-15 season, laid another egg in Week 1. He failed to hit 300 yards passing and tossed two picks. Two late touchdowns did little to salvage an otherwise wanting performance. Luck can’t be faulted too, too much for the poor stat line, though. The Buffalo front-seven – or, rather, Indy’s O-line’s inability to contain them – had Luck scrambling in the pocket all game. The surprisingly mobile QB only took two sacks, but was hurried into several bad throws.
Luck could be in for another long day against the Jets. New York boasts a formidable front-seven of their own, which got to Johnny Manziel three times in Week 1 after knocking starter Josh McCown from the game early in the first quarter with a concussion.
While the New York defense tries to do its best Buffalo impression on the Indy offense, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will just aim to hold onto the ball against an opportunistic Colt D. Expect the Jets to take the pressure off the game-manager pivot and feed RB Chris Ivory a steady diet of inside runs.
Ivory continued the successful ground game the Jets developed last year, rushing for 90 of the team’s 150+ yards, including two majors, in Week 1.
Unfortunately for first-year head coach Todd Bowles, Ivory is dealing with a lingering groin injury and may not be at full speed tonight. If that’s the case, Bowles will have to turn to fifth-year man Bilal Powell. That may not look like the end of the world, at first glance, as Powell put up an impressive 62 yards on just 12 carries against Cleveland (5.2 YPC). But not having a one-two combo of solid RBs to throw at the Indy D-line would certainly lead to a different dynamic than the Jets were able create in Week 1.
If Ivory is indeed limited tonight, expect the Colts defense to have a much better day. Luck and the offense should also perform better, even though top wideout TY Hilton may be slowed by his own knee injury. The Jets defense is good, but they’re not Buffalo good. Indy’s playmakers will show up in the team’s home opener and cruise to a lopsided win.
Pick: Indianapolis (-7).
(Photo credit: Mark Susina (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mss2400/7967230578) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)
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