NFL 2019 Season - Off


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Feelings Free
by Dennis Ranahan

The AFC South Division leading Houston Texans had their nine game winning streak snapped last week by the Indianapolis Colts. On the same Sunday, the New York Jets ended a six game losing run with a win over the Bills in Buffalo.

So, what do you think happens next?

After a rare loss and a rare win is it a good bet that the next week the rare win team will go back to losing and the rare losing team back to winning? One might think this logic was even more supported if these two teams on opposite paths were playing each other.

Well, that is what we have this week.

The Texans visit the Jets in New Jersey, and most anyone with a clipboard and pencil has gotten down on the division leaders off a loss over a cellar dweller following a win.

The players are just as confident as the bettors. The Jets know how close last week’s game was in Buffalo, and respect that catching the Texans on the other side of a loss is not necessarily the best time for a team overmatched man-for-man.

But, despite the Texans having the talent edge, the Jets fall into a very neat spot for underdogs. That is, a team coming off a win getting bet against as an underdog versus a favorite being bet on off a loss. This trap leaves the favorite without the needed fear of failure to maximize their effort.

A winner from last week, like the Jets, are in a much better position motivationally when they are fearful of a loss coming off a win, as opposed to Houston, which is a loser from last week now confident of a win.

The final element in any football game is the players on the field. Who will make the play that wins it for their team, or which team has such superior talent that they are immune from getting caught by a few motivational edges?

I don’t like the Jets chances this week in my gut, it seems that last week’s win was the conclusion of a long journey to a victory, their prio win coming at home against the Indianapolis Colts on October 14. This is where feelings and logic can be in opposition, and both have some elements for consideration in coming to a final choice.

In my minds eye, I see the Texans taking advantage of the Jets in a quick response to a one game losing streak.

But, that picture is not the one that develops when you do the logic on this game based on real emotions. A team that lost last week does not get the same motivational boost to rebound as a squad that fears another loss is imminent.

Bill O’Brien and his coaching staff can stress how a team like the Jets could be dangerous this time of the year, and they have to play it one game at a time with nothing but a full effort acceptable for the honor of wearing the Texans jersey.

It’s a great set of points the coaches will use to motivate their players this week, but the difference between the Texans and Jets is that Houston has to talk up motivation, while the Jets fear of failure is real. The team that most fears the prospect of losing this Sunday at MetLife Stadium is the home team.

The public likes the visitors, and I suspect the visitors like the visitors, while I’m free of an emotional attachment to either side but respect that if the objective is to win point spread plays, the underdog is the choice here.

Qoxhi Picks: New York Jets (+6½) over Houston Texans