Being a favored team stinks. If you win, you don't get any respect because everyone expects you to win. If you lose, you get doused with insults for not living up to expectations. If there wasn't a Super Bowl berth on the line, Sunday's game would be a truly lose-lose situation.
The chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in two weeks make the any unfavorable situation worth it, but the Colts are in a really, really bad spot against the Jets. New York has so many factors going their way this week. If you were a sportswriter looking for an angle to cover if the Jets win, you would have plenty of options at your disposal.
THE UNDERDOG GETTING HOT AT THE RIGHT TIME FACTOR (A.K.A. THE GIANTS FACTOR)
Like their New York brethren two years ago, the Jets entered the playoffs with an unproven quarterback, a stout running game, and a defense that knew how to pressure the quarterback and provide enough coverage to give the rushers a chance to get there. Both of them also entered the playoffs as wildcards who had to win all their games on the road to make it to the Super Bowl.
Though the Jets were losing when the Colts pulled their starters in Week 16, staying competitive seems to be catalyst that sparked New York's run this year, much like the Giants near upset of the Patriots gave the Giants the motivation they needed on their way to the Super Bowl. Like the Giants, the Jets now have the chance to show the team they kept pace with just weeks before that they can now outrun them.
THE KARMA FACTOR
If the Jets beat the Colts after Indianapolis gave them a second chance at a playoff berth by resting their starters, Bill Polian and Jim Caldwell will never hear the end of it. The sports gods have never looked favorably on teams that give their opponents a second chance at life. A Jets victory would end the discussion on resting starters forever. If you thought there was a moral to Tortoise and the Hare, just wait until you see the moral for "The Colt and the Little Jet That Could" appear in your kids' story books..
THE BROADWAY JOE FACTOR
You can't bring up the Colts and the Jets without talking about Super Bowl III. The heavily favored Colts lost to the upstart Jets in a game that helped turn the NFL into the massive sports enterprise it is today.
You also can't talk about Super Bowl III without talking about Joe Willie Namath. The comparisons between Namath and the current Jets quarterback are hard to ignore. But I'll bet Mark Sanchez doesn't have legs like Joe did:
On the other hand, if Mark does have legs that smooth, it's going to be a lot easier for him to slip out of Dwight Freeney's grasp.
THE THOMAS JONES FACTOR
Don't forget he was on the Bears team that lost to the Colts in Super Bowl XLI. Ensuring the Colts don't make it back to Miami for another chance at a Super Bowl would be a nice measure of revenge for Jones.
The Jets have a lot of things going their way into this weekend. It will be hard for the Colts to overcome a squad with the momentum the Jets have right now, but the Colts do have one thing going their way this weekend.
You can't defend a perfect pass.
I like the Colts' chances this week.