With the Indianapolis Colts facing the New York Jets on Sunday in the AFC Championship Game Sunday, Colts Examiner John Oehser and New York Jets Examiner Tyson Rauch posed one another five questions on the matchup. The following are Oehser’s questions for Rauch. Be sure to check out Rauch’s companion piece for his questions about the Colts.
John Oehser: Are the Jets significantly improved from December?
Tyson Rauch: The Jets have won seven of their last eight games and are playing at a pretty high level. The “us against the world” mentality has brought the team much closer together and they are playing with a tremendous amount of confidence. The biggest improvement has been on the offensive side of the ball where Mark Sanchez has become a very effective game manager, limiting his turnovers.
Oehser: WIll Rex Ryan really be “shocked” if the Jets lose?
Rauch: I do not know any head coach in the NFL that expects to lose, not to mention in an AFC Championship game. I think every member of the organization will be disappointed if the Jets lose.
Oehser: Why are the Jets better than their 11-7 record might indicate?
Rauch: I do not think records mean all that much once you enter the post season. The Jets have won two playoff games and are playing very physically on both sides of the ball. The running game has a very good one-two punch in Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene, while the defense, led by cornerback Darrelle Revis, is stifling offenses.
Oehser: People know about Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan and Darrelle Revis? What’s another major reason the Jets are here?
Rauch: The Jets’ offensive line, as a unit, has been dominating the battles at the line of scrimmage. This has allowed the running game to wear down defenses in the later stages of the game. On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Bart Scott is the vocal leader of the team, while safety Jim Leonhard has become a consistent playmaker in the secondary.
Oehser: If necessary, can Mark Sanchez make enough plays through the air in the second half to win the game?
Rauch: This is the million-dollar question for the New York Jets. Over the past month, Sanchez has shown an improved command of the offense and has been making excellent decisions. In addition, he has played from behind in both playoff games and has not started forcing plays. Can he win a shootout? Probably not. Can he lead his team on a game winning drive? I think he has the ability to do that.
COLTS NEEDN’T REGRET NOT ELIMINATING THE JETS. HERE.
Reviewing Colts President Bill Polian’s weekly radio show . . .
* No apologies necessary. Here.
* Caldwell deserved Coach of the Year Honor. Here.
* Fans critical to victory over Baltimore. Here.
* Extraordinary season. Here.
Quoting the Indianapolis Colts . . .
* Head Coach Jim Caldwell, WR Austin Collie. Here.
* QB Peyton Manning, WR Reggie Wayne. Here.
* C Jeff Saturday, TE Dallas Clark, RB Joseph Addai. Here.
* DE Dwight Freeney, S Antoine Bethea, DE Raheem Brock. Here.
MAGNIFICENT SEVEN. ON THE HEALTH OF THE COLTS AND THE RB SITUATION. HERE
POPULAR OR NOT, COLS EARNED RIGHT TO CHOOSE LATE-SEASON APPROACH. HERE.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS OWNER JIM IRSAY SUPPORTED DECISION AGAINST JETS. HERE.
AN UNBEATEN SEASON THAT WASN’T: A FINAL LOOK AT AN UNRESOLVABLE CONFLICT. HERE
FREENEY: PRO BOWL NEVER GETS OLD. HERE
TE DALLAS CLARK, QB PEYTON MANNING AMONG SIX PRO BOWLERS FOR COLTS. HERE.
DOES PEYTON MANNING GET TOO MUCH RESPECT? HERE
POLIANS’ CONTRACTS EXTENDED. HERE
COLTS FANS OWE RB JOSEPH ADDAI AN APOLOGY. HERE
*** CATCH UP WITH ALL THINGS COLTS ON INDY FOOTBALL REPORT. HERE
*** READ JOHN OEHSER’S INDIANA PACERS COVERAGE. HERE.
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