Every week during the season, we’ll scout out the Jets' next opponent. This week, that opponent is the Indianapolis Colts.
You know things have taken a pretty negative turn for the Jets when you look at a team that completely revamped their roster and front office after a 2-14 season with great envy.
It's even more obvious that things have gone down some strange paths when the fact that their head coach Chuck Pagano is battling leukemia at an Indianapolis hospital does nothing to make the envy fade away. We're not wishing anything terrible on Rex Ryan, obviously, but his presence isn't doing anything to make the Jets' future appear rosier than that of the Colts.
Andrew Luck has just about everything to do with that. Luck's played four games in the NFL and none of them have provided any hint that his status as the first overall pick in the draft was the least bit inflated.
He's got the full package of skills, an advanced comprehension of the mental part of the game and a profile that suggests he'll be just as meaningful to the Colts franchise as the man he replaced. That was Peyton Manning, of course, and his departure was accompanied by the departure of just about every other star, coach and executive from the remarkable run of success Manning authored in Indy.
Luck's second half against the Packers last Sunday looked pretty Manning-esque. Down 21-3 at the half, Luck rallied his team with nearly flawless play in the final 30 minutes before winning an emotional game dedicated to Pagano with a late touchdown pass.
The Colts got themselves a fresh start as a result of Manning's injury (and their resulting tank job) and it's hard not to feel like the Jets could use something similar with Darrelle Revis out of the lineup. Everything with the Jets feels stale right now, from the play to the rhetoric to the same old questions about Mark Sanchez.
It was a terrible year for the Colts in 2011, but it was totally worth it if Luck's arrival means that it was just a one-year dip before optimism reappeared in the heartland. The Jets look headed to a second straight year of woe with the need for a Luck-like figure to arrive if they are going to avoid making it a longer stay in the wilderness.
There doesn't appear to be any such figure out there waiting to be fitted for a green jersey, however, and that will make it harder to nudge the team back in the right direction. That's why, regardless of this Sunday's result, the future feels a whole lot brighter in Indianapolis than it does in the Meadowlands.
As for Sunday, these are a few of the names to know in addition to Luck.
Reggie Wayne - Not every old Colt has been run out of town and Wayne, who played in college at Miami while Pagano was a coach there, paid the team back with a stirring performance on Sunday that included the aforementioned winning touchdown. The rest of the Colts receiving corps looks like something the Jets would put together, but, unlike Santonio Holmes when he was healthy, Wayne has still been able to produce with defenses keying on him.
Dwight Freeney/Robert Mathis - Two more holdovers, although they are now linebackers in a 3-4 scheme after years as defensive ends in the team's old 4-3 look. Freeney's been hurt, but Mathis has five sacks to prove that the Jets need not get rid of what works in our dream resurrection of the franchise.
Down on the corners - The Colts have nothing particularly good at corner and the closest thing -- Vontae Davis -- is battling injury. The Jets probably can't take advantage of that, but that doesn't make it any less true.
Offensive line, in more ways than one - Blocking has been a big issue for the Colts in the first four games and it figures to be a problem area all year as you just can't fix everything overnight. Again, though, we have our doubts about the Jets' ability to do anything about it.