When you look at the Indianapolis Colts roster on paper for their match-up with the New York Jets on Sunday it doesn’t look good. They’re bringing in a starting rookie quarterback playing in his fifth game and a rookie running back making his first career start. Mix that with two rookie tight ends and one rookie receiver to compliment Reggie Wayne and it looks scary.
Don’t worry though Colts fans they still should win this ballgame and honestly go 3-0 without Donald Brown.
The Jets have a very good pass defense. Relying on a rookie running back does sound off the alarms, but the Jets struggle to stop the run so the Colts should be alright. I like Vick Ballard and think he actually will have a breakout game this Sunday and make a running back controversy when Brown does return.
Ballard was drafted in the fifth round of April’s draft and brought in to be the bigger physical back that the Colts were trying to transition to. He’s 5’10 but a very strong 219 pounds. He makes up for what Brown lacks in size and strength.
Brown is a very finesse runner and doesn’t break too many tackles. He gets his yardage in the open field when he breaks to the outside and out runs everyone. Ballard on the other hand is not only good at that, but he can create his own holes and break tackles. He did this a lot in the preseason and looked like he could be the next starting running back for the Colts in a few years.
At Mississippi State, Ballard ran for 2,158 yards on 379 attempts for 30 touchdowns in just two years. He did this against bigger, stronger, and faster SEC opponents. That helped him transition to the NFL and be well ready to help this Colts offense on Sunday.
The Jets rank 31st out of 32 teams against the run in giving up 172 yards per game on the ground. If the Colts can get any kind of run attack going it’s going to be this game. They did very well against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in gaining 119 yards on just 30 carries. The line blocked much better and gave Brown room to break to the outside. If they can continue that effort on Sunday Ballard may eclipse 100 yards on the day.
If the Colts can combine to rush for over 100 yards on Sunday, it will be the third straight game they’ve done that this season and will mark the first time they’ve accomplished this feat since the last three games of the 2010 season.
The Jets are going to force the Colts to beat them with Ballard. They know Andrew Luck is one of the best quarterbacks around right now. They’d rather rely on the other rookie in the backfield than allow Luck to torch them with his right arm. That means less Jets in the box and more room for Ballard to run. That also means more yardage per carry as he should break into the secondary quite a bit.