Indianapolis has been very good to the Jets so far. Of course, that’s because noticeable sections of the blue city have been painted in green the past two days.
The first three team buses left from behind the hotel at noon and a few hundred Green & White fans cheered them onto Maryland Street. A couple of blocks later, south on Capitol Ave., west on McCarty Street, north on Missouri, and the buses pulled into Lucas Oil Stadium — but not before a few hundred more fans gathered around the buses and chanted and cheered the players into the stadium. A few Colts fans looked on, shall we say, cautiously.
Now the Jets are on the Lucas turf limbering up for — pinch yourself and say it again — the AFC Championship Game against the Colts. They are attempting to win three playoff games in the same postseason for the first time ever. They are attempting to advance to Super Bowl XLIV.
And I just overheard some Colts officials saying, "I don’t know where the Jets fans are getting their tickets from." The Green & White will be well represented at today’s game.
No question that first-year head coach Rex Ryan has his players ready to rock. His dad, Buddy Ryan, was in town and at the hotel Saturday and word is that he spoke to the players as well as Rex. This game will be hard-fought, and the Jets may win or lose, but it seems the effort will be through the roof (which, in case you’re wondering, is closed).
In fact, a popular theme in the Indy paper and on ESPN this morning was if the Colts may come to regret not playing their starters the whole 60 minutes in their Week 16 loss to the Jets here in Indy. Perhaps the Jets had some doubts at that time that they could get all the way to the AFC title game and beyond, but they have no doubts now and they figure to be incredibly ready for the Colts challenge.
Of course, that assumes that the Colts would have beaten the Jets four weeks ago. But as Ryan has said, that was then and it’s all hypothetical and it has no bearing on the game today.
Shaun Ellis is loosening up with his broken left hand wrapped in what looks like a flexible, light cast, fingers protruding. Looks like the Big Katt will be ready to pounce on Peyton if the opportunity presents itself.
A few minutes ago, Jay Feely hit a field goal attempt from 55 yards.
The Jets’ inactive list for today’s game include QB Kevin O’Connell, RB Chauncey Washington, LB Kenwin Cummings, G Matt Slauson, DE Ropati Pitoitua, RB Danny Woodhead and DT Howard Green. Erik Ainge is the third QB.
Update, 2:40 p.m.: The Indy inactives, which were not distributed to the media and were just announced in the pressbox: K Adam Vinatieri, WR Sam Giguere, CB Jerraud Powers, TE Colin Cloherty, T Michael Toudouze, G Mike Pollak, DE Ervin Baldwin and DT Fili Moala. The Colts don’t designate a third QB. Matt Stover is their kicker. And although it wasn’t announced, rookie Jacob Lacey could be their LCB starter for Powers, out with a foot injury.
Ryan has selected six game captains: G Brandon Moore, C Nick Mangold, K Jay Feely, TE Dustin Keller, DT Sione Pouha and S Kerry Rhodes. And as announced during the week, all-time Jets leading rusher Curtis Martin is an honorary captain today.
The Jets are in their white jerseys and white pants with the green trim. And why not? That combination has been very, very good to them this season. They’ve won both playoff games and five games in a row in double whites and six of seven overall this season. (Seven of eight if you include the preseason "road" win over the Giants.)
Today’s referee is Tony Corrente. This is Corrente’s eighth game as the ref at a Jets game. The second Jets game he presided over just happened to be the 2002 AFC Wild Card Game at the Meadowlands. You remember, the 41-0 win over … Peyton Manning and the Colts? Corrente’s most recent Jets game was last year’s Game15 in the snows of Seattle.
The Game Plan
You know the drill from here. I’ll be signing off from newyorkjets.com for the game. Eric Allen and Kyle Richardson will be moderating our CoveritLive game chat on the site, and I’ll be contributing tweets throughout the game on the chat and simultaneously on the Jets Twitter page http://twitter.com/nyjets. Afterwards, my game story will be on the site as soon as humanly possible after the end of the game. Quotes will be added once we return to North Jersey. EA and KR will provide postgame blogs and sidebars.
And hopefully tonight we’ll all be riding this wave for two more weeks all the way to Miami.
Tags: AFC Championship, Buddy Ryan, Indianapolis, Jay Feely, Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan, Shaun Ellis, Super Bowl
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