Colts vs. Jets

I can’t believe all the talk about the experts picking the Jets over the Colts today.  I’m not saying it’s a lock, but I’d say there’s an 80 percent chance the Colts will win, and chances are they’ll win something like 31-13.

It’s bizarre how many people on ESPN are picking the Jets.  They are completely one-dimensional (the Jets, not the people picking them) — they are a very good rushing team but they have no passing game at all.  Their defense is good but not great.  It’s way overrated.  They finished 9-7 and they might have finished 8-8 or 7-9 if the Colts and the Bengals were going all out in the final two games.  The Houston Texans finished with a 9-7 record too but at least theirs was legit.  The Steelers and the Falcons also finished with 9-7 records but like the Texans didn’t make the playoffs.

Rex Ryan’s act is wearing a little thin.  He’s way too arrogant.  This is a passing league and the Jets can’t pass.

As for the Colts, they only have the best quarterback in the league, great receivers and though the rushing attack ranks near the bottom of the league, Joseph Addai and Donald Brown are solid backs.  Addai had 13 total touchdowns this year.  The defense is also solid, led by Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.

I attribute all the attention to the Jets to three factors:

1.  In our society everything that has happened more recently has a much greater weight than everything else because we have such a low attention span.  You can have a great relationship for a year, then the final month is bad and that’s what is remembered.  This applies even more so in the world of sports.  The Jets have played three good games in a row.  (It also applies in politics, which is one of the reasons our system is so messed up).

2.  When teams have weaknesses, it makes their strengths seem even greater.  The Jets have no passing game, so a good running game and a good defense become a great running game and a great defense. This works in reverse too.  When teams have one great unit, other units get overlooked even if they’re very good.  The Colts have a great passing game, so even though the defense is very good, it gets overlooked.  But the Colts’ defense is probably just as good as the Jets’ defense.*

3.  The Jets are from New York and the media and fans are just pumping them up too much.

I have been wrong before of course — I never thought Brett Favre would have such a great year.  I still think he’ll throw a few interceptions either against the Saints later today or in the Super Bowl.  He’s had an unbelievable year but it doesn’t change the fact that for most of his career he was overrated and threw way too many interceptions.

*So here’s how this works:

Jane is really great in math (say a 9.5 on a scale of 1-10) but merely good (8) in English and science.

John is good in English (8) but terrible in math and science (4). Because John is so much better in English than the other subjects, people assume he’s better than Jane in English. Because Jane is great in math, people forget that she’s also good in English.  In reality, both Jane and John are equally good in English – it just seems that John is better because that’s all he’s good at, and Jane is good at other things too.

So the Jets and Colts have equally good defenses, but it seems like the Jets’ defense is better because overall they’re a weaker team.  The Jets’ defense is the best part of their team while the equally good Colts defense isn’t the best part of their team.

It’s an oversimplification of course, but it works.

Let’s also remember that the Colts’ defense may feel slighted with all the attention going to the Jets’ defense, giving the Colts’ defense extra motivation, while the Jets’ defense may take it for granted that they’ll play great.  Finally, all the people picking the Jets takes some of the pressure off the Colts.  (I know this analysis is full of intangibles, but I don’t have the time or the need to look at all the matchups).

Plus, it’s Peyton Manning vs. Mark Sanchez.  Colts 31, Jets 13.

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