January 22, 2010 |
What the New York Jets need to do to defeat the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC championship game Sunday (noon, Channel 2): Make Peyton pause Jets Coach Rex Ryan is a defensive mastermind, and he's sure to draw up some new looks that alter the coverages and bring pressure from unexpected places. The goal is to get Colts quarterback Peyton Manning to either throw early, or have a hiccup of hesitation before he lets go of the ball. "He's going to figure it out," said former Baltimore coach Brian Billick , now an NFL Network analyst.
January 3, 2010 |
Instant replay could be a big factor in this NFL postseason -- and not the kind that requires taking another look at the video. With the playoff seedings still in flux, there's a chance that one or more Week 17 matchups could be replayed in first-round games. The Eagles and Cowboys, Packers and Cardinals, and Bengals and Jets might wind up getting another crack at each other. Of those teams, all but the Jets are already in the playoffs. New York needs to beat Cincinnati tonight to secure a spot and would have to hit the road in the playoffs.
December 10, 2009 |
Dallas Clark stands in the middle of an otherwise empty locker room and shakes his head at the memory. The Indianapolis Colts tight end had never played a down in the NFL for a coach other than Tony Dungy. So when Dungy stepped down in January, Clark remembers bracing for the worst. "A new guy wants to come in and [say], 'This is how I do it. This is how we did it back then,' " Clark said. "And they want to do that ." But 11 months into the Jim Caldwell era in Indianapolis, Clark admits nothing has changed -- especially not the winning.
January 10, 2010 |
With the kind of bravado only his father, Buddy Ryan, has matched over the last two-plus decades, Coach Rex Ryan said his team should be favorites throughout the playoffs and then handed his players itineraries for the next month with plans that culminate in a parade Feb. 9, two days after Super Bowl XLIV. Then, the New York Jets went out Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium and did something the elder Ryan never accomplished as a coach -- win a postseason game. The rookie coach with rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez outclassed the Cincinnati Bengals, 24-14, in an AFC wild-card meeting to advance to the divisional round.
November 14, 2009
At various times tonight, Indianapolis rookie cornerback Jerraud Powers will find himself covering New England star Randy Moss. But a decade ago, it was more like Moss covered Powers. "I was 10 years old and I got his jersey for Christmas, his Vikings jersey . . . " said Powers, 22, who starts on the right side. "When he first came in the league he was making all those big-time catches over four and five defenders and all of that. I was a big fan of his growing up." Powers has no concerns he'll be able to focus on the task at hand when the Colts play the Patriots in the latest chapter of the NFL's rivalry of the decade.
January 6, 2010 |
Second of four breakdowns on the first round of the NFL playoffs: Big pressure on big men The Eagles have a robust assortment of speedy playmakers, but the guys who absolutely have to make plays on every snap are the big men up front. Stopping the Cowboys in the trenches has been a problem, as evidenced by the four sacks of Donovan McNabb in each of the last two meetings. Former USC standout Winston Justice , Philadelphia's right tackle, was overwhelmed Sunday by outside linebacker Anthony Spencer , who had two sacks, a hurry and forced a fumble.
February 1, 2010 |
Thanks to the Pro Bowl, the scoreboard in Miami Gardens, Fla., is all warmed up for the Super Bowl. Long gains were the rule and hard hitting was the exception Sunday night as the AFC beat the NFC, 41-34. Light showers fell for much of the game, stirring memories of a rainy Super Bowl in the same stadium three years ago, but the weather failed to slow either offense. The AFC's Matt Schaub and the NFC's Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes each, and DeSean Jackson caught two scoring passes for the NFC. From the standpoint of ticket sales, this year's new venue and slot on the NFL calendar was a success.
January 18, 2010 |
New York quarterback Mark Sanchez might have been awarded the game ball in the Jets' 17-14 divisional win over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. Then again, he might not have. Regardless, the ball wound up in his hands. "I just grabbed it," Sanchez said, standing before a large cluster of reporters crammed into a tiny interview room. "Didn't really ask too many questions." Sort of the way his Jets got their ticket to the AFC championship game. They didn't ask any questions -- and certainly didn't take any outside opinions to heart -- and just ripped it from the hands of a San Diego team that had won 11 in a row. It looked as if the Chargers were headed for a third consecutive season with a playoff game against Indianapolis.