Don’t look now, but the New York Jets are just one game back of the AFC East divisional lead through five games this season.
The rebuild has been promising, despite being on the wrong end of the Cleveland Browns’ first win since 2016 in Week 3.
But the Jets ended a three-game skid last week at MetLife Stadium in a convincing win over the Denver Broncos and now have an opportunity to win consecutive games for the first time since Weeks 3-5 during the 2017 season.
The Indianapolis Colts come to visit on Sunday afternoon, a 1-4 side that just can’t find a way to stay healthy. While quarterback Andrew Luck is finally back, he will be without No. 1 wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and top tight end Jack Doyle once again in Week 6.
It’s a golden opportunity for Gang Green to nab a second-straight win. Here is what to watch out for.
Offense runs through Isaiah
Joe Namath is going to be in attendance to help the Jets celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl III-winning team on Sunday afternoon where he’ll get an up-close and personal look at Sam Darnold, the quarterback who is expected to be the franchise’s greatest passer since the Hall-of-Famer.
The thing is that the Jets experience most of their success when their running game is effective, which means it all comes down to Isaiah Crowell. There were questions on whether Crowell would play because of an ankle injury, but it was announced this morning that he will be a go in Week 6.
The 25-year-old running back is coming off a career day in Week 5 when he thrashed the Broncos defense for 219 yards on just 15 carries. It’s the second time this season that he’s gone for over 100 yards in a game which just so happened to occur during the Jets Week 1 win over the Detroit Lions.
Coincidence? I think not. Feed Crowell the ball to keep the Colts defense honest and let him open up big-play passing opportunities for Darnold.
Secondary under siege
There has been some disarray within the Jets defense after the sudden illness and proceeding absence of coordinator Kasey Rodgers.
While head coach Todd Bowles called the plays for the defense last week, the Broncos and quarterback Case Keenum put up 377 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 35 completions.
As Luck continues to improve with each passing week that he remains healthy, the Jets secondary could be in some trouble even though they won’t be seeing Hilton or Doyle.
Two of New York’s best cornerbacks, Trumaine Johnson and Buster Skrine are not expected to play on Sunday. Johnson has a quad issue while Skrine remains in concussion protocol.
Over his past two games, Luck has thrown for a combined 829 yards and seven touchdowns. Against a shorthanded Jets defense, we could see another big performance from him.