Last week in this column we talked about the “Charge of the Rex Brigade” (apologies to Lord Tennyson), and by golly, Rex Ryan’s New York Jets charged straight through the vaunted San Diego Chargers–they of the 11-game win streak and idyllic weather. Now that the Jets have crashed the league championship party, and their opponent goes by the name “Colts”, it seems we can ride this “Charge of the Light Brigade” metaphor for at least another week. If the Jets’ charge is successful again, we may have to think of something else to better suit an epic match-up with the Saints or Vikings. But let’s not get caught looking ahead, for this week’s battle lies in Indy, and our protagonists face Manning’s cannon to the right of them, and Manning’s cannon to the left of them.
It would be hard to write a better script for the Jets playoff run thus far. Sunday they saddle up against the team that many feel let them get into the playoffs. Peyton Manning and company exited stage right in the third quarter of Week 15 nursing a very tenuous 15-10 lead. Peyton hadn’t even had a chance to warm the bench with his posterior before the Jets proceeded to paint the town red with Colts back-up quarterback/sacrificial lamb Curtis Painter. Now you would be hard pressed to find a man, woman or child who considers themselves a die hard Jets fan who doesn’t believe the Jets win that game regardless of whether Peyton’s place (apologies to Grace Metalious) was on the sidelines or under center. And you certainly won’t find a member of the Jets team or coaching staff that doesn’t believe they don’t win that game either. But the Colts and their fans believe something different. They believe the team forfeited its quest for a perfect season, and in so doing, allowed the Jets to sneak into the playoffs. Colts fans are more than a little worried that Gang Green is returning to the scene of the perceived pardon more powerful and vicious than ever before. Meanwhile, the Jets come to town brimming with confidence:
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do & die,
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
As for you, gentle fantasy reader, flash your best sabres bare and fight the good fight this Sunday armed with a couple of fantasy tips:
Volley and thunder with Keller: Dustin Keller, TE, Jets
Dustin Keller has answered the bell for the Jets in the playoffs. 99 yards and a touchdown against the Bengals, a game-changing scoring catch in the back of the end zone against the Chargers. Now the Purdue graduate and Indiana native returns home, and it would all seem perfect, except this homecoming will be bittersweet for Keller. His beloved Uncle Tony died unexpectedly this week. Never an easy situation, but professional athletes have a way of rising to the occasion in the face of such personal tragedy. Keller need look no further than the example set by his quarterback from a season ago, Brett Favre. One day after Favre’s father passed away in 2003, number 4 took the field on a Monday night in Oakland and passed for 399 yards and 4 TD’s in a 41-7 Packers victory. Look for Keller to honor the man who became a father figure to him after he lost his own father. Keller will continue his post-season scoring ways. Start’em if you’ve got’em
Half a field onward: Shonn Greene, RB, Jets
Once upon a time, an NFL fan may have scratched his head if you asked him if he knew who Shonn Greene was. That time has passed. The rookie out of Iowa has exploded for 263 yards and two TD’s in his first two playoff games. His 53 yard half a field power burst to glory in the fourth quarter against the Chargers will be on the permanent Jets highlight reel long after he retires. Now Greene faces a Colts defense ranked 24th against the run. Mount the steeds and ride with Greene. (And if you have Thomas Jones, ride with him as well. He’ll get plenty of carries as he looks to remind folks he’s no slouch himself.)
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.
Yes, those folks in Indianapolis are a little bit nervous.
New York Jets Examiner