Week 9 of the NFL season begins with a Thursday night matchup between the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts. Both teams have a losing record in 2021, with the Colts dominating 36-7 when they hosted the Jets last season. On Thursday, the Colts are listed as 10.5-point favorites with an over/under of 46.5 points.
Of course, the Jets have a sense of newfound optimism after beating the Bengals last week. On the heels of a disastrous loss to the Patriots, the Jets erased an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat Cincinnati 34-31 behind backup quarterback Mike White. However, the win still leaves the Jets at just 2-5 on the season.
Meanwhile, the Colts aren’t in much better shape at 3-5. They are also coming off a gut-wrenching loss to the Titans in which a careless pick-six late in the game was erased by an amazing touchdown drive, only to lose the game in overtime. The loss put the Colts three games back in the AFC South standings, leaving little margin for error moving forward.
Maybe Carson Can
Despite last week’s loss, it was still a step forward for the Indy offense, as the Colts have scored at least 30 points in three straight games. Carson Wentz doesn’t necessarily have an elite set of wide receivers around him, although he’s thrown multiple touchdown passes in five straight games. That is helping to give the Colts a little more balance for Jonathan Taylor and the rushing attack, which has been solid all year.
The Indy defense has also made strides in recent weeks, especially since the Colts should have won in regulation last week by giving up just 24 points to the Titans. Even in some of their early-season losses, the Colts were holding their own defensively but didn’t get the support from their offense. The Colts have looked good at the line of scrimmage and have forced 18 takeaways in eight games.
As mentioned, White was the key to the Jets beating the Bengals last week. The backup threw for 405 yards and three touchdown passes, including two in the final five minutes of the game. However, the Jets still have one of the worst rushing attacks in the league, while White has also thrown four interceptions in less than two full games since Zach Wilson was hurt.
At the same time, the New York defense has also been among the worst in the NFL. Keep in mind that the Jets have allowed at least 25 points in every game since Week 1. On the season, the Jets have only been able to force five takeaways in seven games, leaving opposing teams with plenty of opportunities to score points.
Back to Reality
While White played the role of hero last week, there’s no denying that he’s been turnover-prone since Wilson got hurt. With the Jets offering little assistance from the running game or from their defense, they are setting White up for failure on the road against a solid Indy defense.
Look for the Jets to revert back to their normal selves this week and bet on the Colts to win and cover.
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