Week 9 kicks off with a matchup that features two teams well below .500 which makes this game move evenly matched than you’d think. The Jets being below .500 bodes well for the Colts as the team is 3-0 against teams with losing records this season (0-4 vs teams .500 or better). Indianapolis is heading into this matchup coming off a loss as New York is coming off a wild win under Mike White.
The 26-year old quarterback was drafted in the fifth round of the 2018 draft but didn’t see his first NFL start until this past Sunday. White was so good in his debut that he’s already in the Hall of Fame…
New Artifacts: The jersey of @nyjets QB @MikeWhiteQB & game ball from their Week 8 victory. He completed 37 passes for 405 yards & 3 TDs. His 37 completions are the most by a QB in their 1st start. Also became the 2nd QB since 1950 to throw for 400+ yards in debut.#TakeFlight
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) November 3, 2021
There’s no denying that White looked nothing short of phenomenal this past Sunday, however, it’s tough to ignore that the Jets QB did not attempt a deep pass (20+ air yards). 38 of White’s 45 pass attempts were under 10 air yards with Jets RBs getting targeted 32 times in White’s two appearances this season (Week 7 vs. Patriots, Week 8 vs. Bengals). Interestingly enough, the New York signal-caller has almost nearly as many pass yards to running backs (270) as wide receivers (310).
That makes the Jets offense surprisingly predictable, especially on a short week. The Colts defense is most certainly going to depend on LB Darius Leonard to be the team’s X-Factor playing the middle zone and likely peeling off in coverage against opposing backs. DeForest Buckner is another name worth keeping an eye on as the pass rusher has racked up 13.5 sacks and 34 QB hits since getting traded to Indy before the 2020 season. Only Rams’ Aaron Donald has more sacks and QB hits among inside defensive linemen in that same span.
Indy’s defense should hold things down but it’s up to Carson Wentz to lift this team over the top. Wentz has won three games with the Colts this season which is just as many as he won through his final 12 games with the Eagles. Wentz needs to find a sense of consistency and with the emergence of WR Michael Pittman paired with a strong backfield headlined by RB Jonathan Taylor, it’s tough to not find success.
The first-year Colts quarterback already has 5 games with 2+ pass TD and 0 INTs this season. Only the league’s reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers (6) has more such games. As long as head coach Frank Reich isn’t relying on Wentz’s arm to be the only form of this offense attack, the Colts should see a favorable matchup on both sides of the ball. Time of possession will likely be the key in this matchup as the Jets like to eat up time as well so if this goes into a one-possession game late in the fourth, it could be anyone’s game. Ultimately, I’ll take Indy to win this at home as the team looks more equipped for a potential playoff run compared to the Jets.