We're facing a "Saving Private Ryan" scenario.
Remember that movie? The one that should have won the Best Picture Oscar instead of "Shakespeare in Love" back in 1998? Since it's more than a decade old, I am going to ruin the ending for you by making a thoughtful, cogent, intelligent point about the Jets-Colts game this weekend. It ends with the Jets as a German soldier or Gwyneth Paltrow. Or both.
Bear with me.
In the middle of "Saving Private Ryan," the Tom Hanks character, Capt. John Miller, and his men come across some German soldiers in the middle of a green pasture. They shoot at each other over a bunch of dead cows before the good guys finally kill all the bad guys. Except for one. The Americans line the German up, consider killing him and then, at the last minute, Hanks' character gives him a reprieve. As Hanks' men watch, he lets the bad guy run away to live, and fight, another day.
So what happens at the end of the movie? Hanks and his men have saved Pvt. Ryan, but now they have some unfinished business against the enemy in some bombed-out town. As the battle wages, the camera pans the Germans' front line and, wouldn't you know it, the guy Hanks let free is there, firing his bullets as fast as he can. Naturally, Hanks ends up dead.
My point is this: In Week 16 of the season, the Colts were undefeated and leading the Jets 15-10 midway through the third quarter. A win not only takes them to 15-0, one step from football immortality, it knocks the then 7-7 Jets out of the playoffs. Instead, Peyton is pulled, a scrub named Curtis Painter is inserted in his place and the Jets win 29-15. New York wins its next two, makes the playoffs, beats up Cincy and embarrasses the Chargers. Now the Jets are lining up for another showdown with the Colts. Will they be the German who should have been wiped out only to come back and kill the biggest star on the planet? Will they be the sentimental Gwyneth Paltrow movie that gets some momentum but, when history looks back, wasn't quite as good as the epic it beat for the big prize?
Who knows? But if the Jets do beat the Colts, all of Indy is going to wonder why their team didn't finish the Jets when it could.
Anyway, there are plenty of wise guys who think that, if the Jets don't at least win outright, they will keep it close. For some perspective on the conference title games, I asked Kenny White, boss linemaker at Las Vegas Sports Consultants, and handicapper Ted Sevransky (aka Teddy Covers) to tell me how the lines were made and why they're moving.
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