By Jonathan Comey
Cold, Hard Football Facts Smartypants
The Kansas City Chiefs regained the top spot on the Intelligence Index with their tidy 45-10 win over the Washington Redskins Sunday, in a game where they held only a 347-257 yardage advantage.
Turning small territorial advantages into big wins on the scoreboard is the singular hallmark of smart teams on the Intelligence Index.
At the other end, Houston put a lock on last place with another dumb effort – they outgained Jacksonville 406-281 but lost 27-20 and got Gary Kubiak fired.
Turning territorial advantages into losses on the scoreboard is the singular hallmark of dumb teams on the Intelligence Index.
We’re going to stay away from Houston this week after the coaching change, and because they are playing an Indianapolis team that has been playing some not-so-smart ball the past month.
But otherwise, the Intelligence Index remains the smartest bet in football:
- The five smartest teams on the index are 40-24-1 (.625) vs. the spread, 46-19 (.708) overall
- The five dumbest teams on the index are 24-41 vs. the spread (.369), 18-47 overall (.277)
Week 14 was another good one for the Intelligence Index picks, 2-1 with two easy wins (Kansas City -2.5 vs. Washington and Philadelphia -2.5 vs. Detroit), putting us 20-10-2 on the season (.667) and 28-4 (.875) straight up.
Most of our money has been made riding favorites. In fact, we've picked just three underdogs among 32 Mental Mismatches all year. This week, we have a rarity – two underdogs we like a lot, along with a double-digit favorite.
The Intelligence Index through Week 14
THIS WEEK’S MENTAL MISMATCHES
Baltimore +6 at Detroit. The Lions’ lack of intelligence has been on display for the last month-and-a-half, while the Ravens are in the playoff mix largely because of how smart they’ve been. The Ravens have been outgained 4,327-4,033, but they’re +17 in scoring and 7-6 in the standings. They also haven’t lost a game by more than six points since Week 1 at Denver.
Jacksonville +2.5 vs. Buffalo. Well, we never thought we’d pick the Jaguars by this method, considering their residence at the bottom of this Index, but you have to look at what teams are when they play each other.
The last five weeks, Jacksonville is +4.75; Buffalo is -4.82. Add that to the Jags’ status as home underdogs, and this is actually a pretty easy pick despite Jacksonville’s No. 30 ranking on the Index.
Carolina -11 vs. New York Jets. We were burned by the big number between the Browns and Patriots last week, but after some deliberation feel comfortable recommending this obvious brains mismatch. The Panthers have been smart all year, and while the Jets’ win-loss performances have been streaky, they have been consistently dumb in the yards-to-points pursuit.