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Pre-game thoughts

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The Bears are big underdogs to the Colts on Sunday. Yet Allen St. John of the WSJ predicts the Bears will win [2]:

Over the last 22 Super Bowls, 18 — 86% of them —
were won by the team that came into the game after allowing fewer
regular-season points. (In the 2004-05 regular season, the New England
Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles each allowed 260 points.) Not
since the Denver Broncos won 1999’s Super Bowl XXXIII has the team with
the weaker defense emerged victorious.

And that’s why the underdog Chicago Bears should
defeat the Indianapolis Colts in Miami on Sunday. Lovie Smith’s NFC
Champion Bears allowed only 255 points during the regular season.
That’s third-best in the NFL — and is a whopping 105 points fewer than
the AFC Champion Colts allowed.

He adds this info:

Savvy fans may dismiss many of these numbers, arguing that the AFC was
the far better conference this year. That may be true for the
conferences, but it doesn’t necessarily hold for this matchup. The
Bears and Colts played five common opponents this season — the New
York Jets, New York Giants, Patriots, Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins.
Indianapolis went 5-0 against these teams, while the Bears were 3-2.
However, in those games, the Bears scored 114 points and surrendered
only 75, outscoring their opponents by 39 points. The Colts? Despite
their perfect record, they scored 128 but gave up 107, for a 21-point
differential, just over half that of the Bears.

This somewhat savvy fan would point out that that was then and this is now. The Colts defense has been playing much better. But it is interesting how easy it is to think that the Colts are unstoppable and that Peyton Manning is a genius. We felt the same way about the Rams and Kurt Warner against the Patriots.

I have been thinking a lot about the difficulties of forecasting based on the past because I am reading Fooled by Randomness [3]. Very thought-provoking.

As a final pre-game prep, listen to the last half of the Michael Lewis podcast [4]. (And listen to the first half, too, where we talk about Moneyball. Pitchers and catchers report in less than two weeks.) Lewis’s insights into the role of the left tackle have changed the way I watch football. Or read his book, The Blind Side [5]. You still have two days.

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