Toronto, Canada – NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Indianapolis Colts need to overcome a resurgent New York Jets team who spoiled their shot at a perfect regular season record less than a month ago if they are to advance to the Super Bowl in Miami on February 7.
Last month the Colts had home field advantage throughout the post season locked up and decided to rest starting quarterback Peyton Manning and a handful of other key players with a 15-10 lead late in the third quarter.
The Jets ultimately fought back for a 29-15 win and, with their win the following week against Cincinnati, qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
Now the Colts have a chance to avenge their December loss to the Jets with much more at stake. A win for the Colts would put them back in the Super Bowl for the first time since their 29-17 win over the Chicago Bears in 2007.
"Besides that, we practiced for them last week as well. Pretty thoroughly, I think."
The winners of next weekend's game book their ticket to the Super Bowl against one of the top two seeds from the NFC conference, the New Orleans Saints or Minnesota Vikings, where favored teams have won every game this post season.
Ryan has attracted attention this year for giving his players an itinerary for the post season that included the Super Bowl in Miami and a victory parade shortly after.
(Writing by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by John Mehaffey)