Think you know which NFL team boasts the biggest scoring machine?
Of course you do. You read the Cold, Hard Football Facts, the definitive guide to gridiron greatness.
Cold, Hard Football Facts does for football what "Down and Out in Las Vegas" did for Sin City: expose the gritty truth for the world to see.
So while the talking heads are washing balls for New England and Dallas, take a moment to appreciate the greatness of the best offensive machine in football, the Indianapolis Colts.
On the surface, the facts seem to refute the argument that the Colts are the league's No. 1 offense. The Patriots have scored a league-leading 182 points. The Cowboys have scored 176 and rank No. 3.
The Colts are third with 164 point.
So why should someone put Manning's Horses ahead of the Brady Bunch and Romo's Boys?
It's because the Colts faced tougher defenses.
To date, the Colts have beaten the Saints, Titans, Texans, Broncos, and Bucs. These might not strike you as the hardest teams to score on in the NFL. But collectively they are no slouches, giving up an average of 18.2 PPG when they don't play the Colts. But when they play the Colts they gave up 164 points in five games, or 32.8 PPG.
The Colts, in other words, outscore their opponents by greater than two touchdowns more than the rest of the league (32.8 – 18.2 = 14.6).
The Patriots have scored more points overall, but look at their opponents: Jets, Chargers, Bengals, Bills, and Browns.
The generous defenses of New England's opponents surrender 24.6 PPG when they were not playing the Pats, and 36.4 PPG against New England.
The 11.8 PPG differential in New England's favor is impressive, but not as impressive as the pace of the Colts.
Rounding out the list is the Cowboys, who beat the Giants, Dolphins, Bears, Rams, and Bills. This bunch has allowed 23.0 PPG when not playing the Cowboys, and 35.2 PPG when they do play the Cowboys.
That differential gives the Cowboys a 12.2 PPG edge, squeaking ahead of the Patriots.
The Bengals and Browns round out the Top 5 in terms of scoring differential relative to their opponents in other game.s
The Bengals are +8.9 PPG in this category. The Browns are +7.0 PPG.
Their place on this list should not be any surprise, given the 51-45 shootout between the two teams in Week 2. Other notable squads: Giants and Cardinals at +6.7, Lions and Packers at +5.9, and Steelers at +5.2.
The Ravens, Bills, 49ers, Rams, and Chiefs, meanwhile, are the dregs of the league, who show up each week hoping the opponents will allow them to return a kick for a touchdown.
The Ravens manage just 17.6 PPG against opponents who otherwise conceded 29.0 PPG, an 11.4-point deficit that is easily the worst in the league. The Ravens offense makes an average defense look like the best in the league.
Here are the rest of the dregs: Bills at -7.9 PPG differential, 49ers at -7.6, Rams at -6.8, and Chiefs at -6.5.
You know how this weekend will go down: one 5-0 team will lose, and the other will be praised to heaven as the team to beat. And perhaps it will prove to be so. Even the talking heads will get one right eventually.
But as the Colts rest on their bye week, Manning can watch the games with confidence, because he knows the Cold Hard Football Facts as well as you do: no one is better at scoring than Indy.