The Indianapolis Colts will try to get back in the win column this week when they visit their former division rival, the New York Jets. Game time is set for 1:00 EST on Sunday, October 14 at MetLife Stadium. Fans in local markets will be able to watch the game on CBS.
The Jets are holding steady as 2.5-point favorites at home. The over/under for the game is set at 45.5 points. Be sure to check out a full list of this week’s NFL betting odds.
Andrew Luck’s return from shoulder surgery has not gone as the Colts would have liked. Indianapolis is just 1-4 on the season and quickly spiraling toward another lost year. To be fair, the Colts have been competitive in most of their games. However, they’re coming off their worst loss of the season, a 38-24 showing last Thursday against the Patriots.
The silver lining for Indy is that they’ve had a little extra time to prepare for this week’s game. Luck and his shoulder also have a little more time to recover after throwing over 120 passes over the past two games. The Colts also play some of their more winnable games over the next few weeks, so there’s still time to turn things around. However, it’s crucial that they find a way to beat the Jets this week.
Of course, the Jets are trying to build some momentum after their 34-16 thrashing of the Broncos last week. It was one big play after another last week, much like New York’s Week 1 win over the Lions. After three straight losses and three straight games of scoring 17 points or less, the Jets once again feel good about the direction they’re heading.
Despite being 2-3 on the season, the Jets are very much in the picture. Every team in the AFC East is either 3-2 or 2-3, so if the Jets can string a few wins together, they’ll be able to stay in the picture long-term, especially if Sam Darnold and the offense can start showing some more consistency.
I’m not ready to buy the Jets long-term, but I do think they’ll win this week. The Colts may have had a little extra time to prepare for this game, but they’re still going on the road and will be without some key players due to injury. I think the Jets will be able to hide some of their deficiencies well enough to escape with a win and cover the 2.5-point spread.
While Darnold has been a little Jekyll and Hyde this season, the Jets have quietly become one of the better rushing teams in the NFL. Isaiah Crowell got a lot of the headlines after rushing for over 200 yards last week, but Bilal Powell is also having a good season. Behind that backfield tandem, the Jets are rushing for 135 yards per game and gaining nearly five yards per carry on the season.
The Colts have struggled to keep teams under 100 yards rushing this season, so there’s every reason to expect the Jets to establish a productive ground attack. When the Jets run the ball, it brings play-action and Darnold’s mobility into the equation. The rookie quarterback has also shown a willingness to take chances down the field. With an Indianapolis secondary that’s been exposed this season, the Jets may be able to create some big plays in the passing game. Keep in mind that the Colts are giving up 28 points per game this season, so I think the Jets will find the end zone a few times.
As usual, that will put a lot on Luck’s shoulders. The Colts are one of the worst rushing teams in the NFL this year, giving Luck little support in that area. It appears that projected starter Marlon Mack will finally return from injury this week. Mack has been limited to just 10 carries this season. However, the Colts can’t really expect him to return and be their savior. With the offensive line losing a couple key guys to injured reserve, the Indy running game has a somewhat limited ceiling.
It’s worth noting that Luck has been more willing to take shots down the field recent weeks. That’s one area where the Colts could have some success against an inexperienced Jets secondary. However, T.Y. Hilton is listed as doubtful, which makes explosive plays less likely. The Colts will also be without Jack Doyle, depriving Luck of two of his most experienced receiving targets. It’s also worth noting that the Jets are one of the best teams in the NFL at creating takeaways. If the Colts fall behind and Luck is forced to make 50-plus throws, the chances of him throwing an interception or two go up considerably.
Ultimately, I think the Jets will have success running the ball and put Darnold in a good position to make plays. Meanwhile, it seems likely the Colts will once again fail to give Luck enough support. To be fair, the Colts are capable of winning this game. However, the Jets being able to win and cover the small spread seems more likely. I’ll eat the points and lean toward the Jets to win their second in a row.