The Indianapolis Colts host the New York Jets tonight to open the ninth week of National Football League action. With a win, the Jets could equal the Colts 2021 season win total with three. Seems unlikely, but who thought the Jets were going to hand the Cincinnati Bengals a loss last week with a backup quarterback running their offense?
The New York Jets have been looking for a franchise quarterback for about as long and with as much success as those in search of Bigfoot. Even legendary signal caller Joe Namath, who built a career around his Super Bowl III prediction and win over the Colts, had a lifetime losing record in his 125 starts for the Jets.
This year, the Jets made another stab at finding a quarterback that could lead them to their first Super Bowl win since the 1968 season. With the second overall selection in the 2021 draft the Jets selected BYU quarterback Zach Wilson. The start of Wilson’s career has looked like many rookies who come into the league and are overwhelmed by the speed of the NFL and the defensive competition.
Wilson was injured two weeks ago in a contest against the New England Patriots and in his absence the Jets turned to Mike White who completed the debacle against their AFC East Division rivals … a 54-13 loss.
Then, whaloo, White showed up last week and engineered the highest scoring game of the season for the Jets and led an upset win over the Bengals, 34-31. In their previous six games the Jets had scored a total of 80 points, so you can understand why the team is excited about the play of White.
Who is this backup quarterback that led the upset over the Bengals?
White completed his college career at Western Kentucky and was a fifth round draft choice of the Dallas Cowboys in 2018. After one year with Dallas, White joined the Jets as a free agent before the 2019 season. He had remained on the Jets bench until an injury sidelined Wilson early in the loss to New England and made his first NFL start last week.
That went very well.
What can we expect in his start tonight?
A lot less.
The Colts were within an overtime win of getting back into the thick of the AFC South Division race last week before losing to the Tennessee Titans and falling 3 games back in the standings. It was a bitter loss for the Colts and one that will likely lead to a big effort tonight.
As for the Jets success last week, it can be more attributed to a Bengals loss than a true resurgence of the Jets fortunes. The Bengals visited MetLife Stadium last Sunday on the heels of five wins in their previous six games that included a victory at Baltimore the prior week that pulled them even with the Ravens atop the AFC North Division standings. Cincinnati was also playing their third straight road game when they got upset by New York.
Contrast that with the Colts tonight.
They are coming off a loss, desperate for a win to stay within shouting distance of the Titans and playing a second straight home game after losing last week.
Yep, mighty different.
But, do we really want to lay 10 points with a team that lost last week against one that won?
Teams giving 10 to 13 points on the spread following a loss against a team that won the prior week has only occurred 14 times since 2010. In those 14 games the favorite is 12-2 straight-up and 6-7-1 versus the point spread. The favorite, like the Colts tonight, have lost the last three times the situation has been in play. Those games were played in 2019, 2020 and last week when the favored Kansas City Chiefs, off their loss to the Titans, hosted the New York Giants, who had beaten the Carolina Panthers the prior week.
While I don’t rely on trends with little logic to pick games, I do always want to know the stats to make sure we are not stepping into a consistent trap. A 12-2 straight up mark and 6-7-1 point spread record indicates something else more causal is governing those results.
Like tonight, a better Colts team off a loss geared to down the Jets.
Qoxhi Picks: Indianapolis Colts (-10) over New York Jets