The storylines can wait, as far Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning sees it.
The Rex Ryan storyline . . .
The legacy storyline . . .
The present versus the past storyline . . .
All of those things will be discussed and discussed and discussed as the Colts prepared to play the New York Jets in the AFC Championship Game, but Manning said what matters is the Colts have a very big game for which to prepare.
And preparing for it is the most important thing.
“The focus this week is on preparation,” Manning said as the AFC South Champion Colts (15-2) prepared to play the Jets (11-7) in the AFC Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis Sunday at 3 p.m.
“We’ve got to have a good week of preparation. I thought we had a good week last week. Against these guys, especially, the more familiar you are with them, the better chance it gives you. It doesn’t guarantee anything; it does give you a better chance.
“That’s the focus right now: trying to get prepared mentally and physically to play a good game.”
Manning, in his 12th season as the Colts’ quarterback, this week is preparing for his third appearance in the AFC Championship Game.
“I don’t know if anything feels different,” Manning said. “It’s an exciting week. I think the focus sitting here on Wednesday is we have to have a good week of preparation.”
The Colts, a playoff team an NFL-best eight consecutive seasons, have won six of the past seven AFC titles, advancing to the AFC Championship Game following the 2003 and 2006 seasons. They beat New England, 38-34, in the AFC title game following the 2006 season, beating the Chicago Bears two weeks later in Super Bowl XLI.
The Colts lost the AFC title game to New England, 24-14, following the 2003 season.
The Jets, including a 29-15 victory over the Colts on December 27, have won their last four games, including road postseason victories first over the Cincinnati Bengals, 24-14, in an AFC Wild Card game, and next over the San Diego Chargers, 17-14, in an AFC Divisional Playoff game last Sunday.
The Jets last made the AFC Championship game in 1998, and last won two games in one postseason in 1982, but they are the NFL’s No. 1 run offense and No. 1 defense, and are playing well enough that Head Coach Rex Ryan told reporters this week he will be “shocked” if the Jets don’t play in the Super Bowl.
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