It's hard to believe, but we are already in Week 9 of the 2021 NFL season. 

This has been one of the wildest weeks of NFL news in quite some time, and some of it has a dramatic effect on one of Thursday night's two teams. The Tennessee Titans lead the AFC South by three games over the Indianapolis Colts, but they just lost Derrick Henry for the foreseeable future. If the Colts are to make up ground, they have to start right now, against the New York Jets (coming off their second win of the season!) on "Thursday Night Football."

Let's take a look at the matchup, as well as how you can watch the game. 

How to watch

Date: Thursday, Nov. 4 | Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis)
Fox | Stream: fuboTV (click here)
Follow: CBS Sports App
Odds: Colts -10.5, O/U 45.5

When the Jets have the ball

So... Mike White, huh? The White Lotus went 37 of 45 for 405 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions against a Cincinnati Bengals defense that had previously looked pretty damn good and had most recently been seen shutting down Lamar Jackson and the Ravens

White's performance was pretty fascinating, because while he undoubtedly made some nice throws, the Jets almost exclusively asked him to check down and get the ball into the hands of short-range targets, who then did work the ball in their hands. White averaged 9.0 yards per attempt, but his average pass traveled just 3.7 yards downfield, according to TruMedia. So, he ended up getting 68.4% of his passing yardage total from yards that were gained after the catch. He didn't throw any deep (20-plus yards in the air) passes, but actually went 5 of 6 for 75 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception on intermediate throws between 11 and 20 yards downfield. That's pretty impressive. 

The good news for the Jets is that the Colts have gotten pressure on a considerably-below-average 29.7% of opponent dropbacks this season, which means they'll help the Jets negate their biggest weakness (pass protection) just by being unable to take advantage of it in the first place. Also, Indy's zone-heavy defense is designed to take away big plays down the field and encourage checkdowns, which plays into what White apparently wants to do anyway. He's targeted running back Michael Carter on 22 of his 77 pass attempts during his two appearances this season, change-of-pace back Ty Johnson another 10 times, and slot man Jamison Crowder 12 times. Every other player has combined for 33 targets -- a 42.8% share. 

The Colts have been one of the best defenses at limiting yards after the catch, though. Just 46.3% of passing yards gained against Indianapolis' defense have come after the catch, the eighth-lowest share in the league. Opponents have also thrown downfield against them on just 8.2% of pass attempts, the NFL's fifth-lowest mark. In other words, the Colts take away everything deep, encourage opponents to throw short, and then do a better job than almost any other squad of rallying to the ball and limiting gains. New York will have to count on Carter, Crowder, and potentially Elijah Moore to evade tackles that other pass-catchers have struggled to avoid throughout the season. 

It seems wildly unlikely that the Jets will be able to push the Colts around in the trenches and run the ball at them, considering Indy's No. 1 ranking in Football Outsiders' rush defense DVOA and New York's 26th-ranked run-blocking unit. 

When the Colts have the ball

The matchup on this side of the ball comes down to two questions: Can Carson Wentz avoid making a back-breaking mistake, be it a turnover or an untimely sack -- or will he even have to?

Jonathan Taylor is averaging over 6 yards per carry across the Colts' last five games, racking up six touchdowns on the ground and another on a screen pass. The Indianapolis offensive line is getting healthier, with Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith back in the lineup. (Although Nelson is listed as questionable, per the team's injury report). 

The Jets have the NFL's 23rd-ranked run defense by DVOA, but it's very hit or miss. They've stopped runs at or behind the line of scrimmage 21% of the time, per Football Outsiders, the sixth-best mark in the NFL. But if they don't get a stuff, they typically get gashed. They've allowed an explosive run on 8.9% of opponent carries, a rate that ranks inside the bottom-10. That's likely because of how often the Jets stack the box to stop the run: 28.2% of opponent rush attempts have come against 8-man boxes, per TruMedia, the NFL's eighth-highest share. (Taylor ranks 18th among 50 qualifiers in yards per carry against 8-man boxes, a good sign for the Colts in this matchup).

The expected success for the Colts running the ball takes some pressure off of Wentz here. He's played fairly well since arriving in Indianapolis, but his frustrating tendency to hold the ball too long has come along with him from Philadelphia. It's too often resulted in sacks, fumbles, and baffling decisions, and he's lucked his way out of a few turnovers that should have been made. If he does go to the air, though, the Jets do not really have anyone who can cover Michael Pittman Jr. The only worry is New York's surprisingly frisky front being able to generate enough pressure to force Wentz into bad decisions.

Prediction: Colts 24, Jets 17