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Jets can damage Colts' poor pass defense, playoff hopes

The Indianapolis Colts are playing for their playoff lives when they visit the New York Jetson Monday night. Although the Colts are still in playoff contention whereas the Jets are not, the Football Power Index gives the Colts only a 39 percent chance to win.

A Colts win Monday night would increase their chances of making the playoffs by 18 percent, to approximately 30 percent. So the Colts' realistic playoff chances depend on a win. To advance their cause, though, they will have to find a way to address their glaring defensive weakness.

The Colts are better than league average on offense and have the second-best special teams in the league. But they also have the NFL's second-worst defense, which so far this season has given up more than 20 points in every game.

The Colts' defense hasn't generated many interceptions -- it is tied for last in the league with only three this season -- and has allowed touchdowns at a very high rate. The Colts have allowed 22 touchdowns through the air, making them last in the league in TD-to-interception ratio by a wide margin.

They also have not done a good job of putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, getting pressure on 22 percent of dropbacks, which is 27th in the league and nearly half the rate at which the league-leading Denver Broncos apply pressure.

Indianapolis has the advantage this week of playing the Jets and their 18th-ranked offense, which has scored fewer than 20 points in six of their 11 games this season, including three without a touchdown. The Jets also allow their quarterbacks to be sacked on over 4 percent of dropbacks -- 27th in the league.

The Colts need to win to bolster their playoff hopes. As long as they can keep the Jets' anemic offense in check, they have a good chance to overcome their FPI odds and stay alive in the playoff hunt.

For more from ESPN Analytics, visit the ESPN Analytics Index.

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