New York Jets coach Rex Ryan has far more confidence in his team winning the Super Bowl than statisticians and Las Vegas oddsmakers, who have put the franchise’s championship chances at 3 percent.
“We have the best team,” Ryan, 48, said this week as the club prepared for tomorrow’s playoff opener at the Indianapolis Colts. “I use the old quote (from boxer Sugar Ray Robinson), ‘To be a champion, you have to think you can win when no one else thinks you can.’ That’s what I believe.”
The Jets are given a 35.4 percent chance of winning against the Colts and quarterback Peyton Manning, according to Los Angeles-based Accuscore, which estimates probabilities of National Football League games by running 10,000 play-by-play simulations. As 2 1/2- to 3-point underdogs, oddsmakers put the Jets’ chances of winning at 44 percent.
The game is a rematch of last year’s American Football Conference championship, which the Colts won 30-17 after the Jets held a 17-6 second-quarter lead.
The odds of Ryan’s team winning three straight playoff games on the road and then the Super Bowl on Feb. 6 are even more remote, according to both Accuscore and the Las Vegas sports books. Only the Kansas City Chiefs (1.1 percent) and Seattle Seahawks (0.2) have lower probabilities of winning the championship among the 12 teams that made the NFL’s postseason.
“If we accomplish what we set out to do, I don’t know if it will be historic, but it will be close,” said Ryan, who predicted a Super Bowl victory for the Jets before the season and again after their regular-season finale.
The Super Bowl is the most-wagered-upon single game in the U.S., with $82.7 million bet on it at Nevada’s 176 sports last year, according to the state’s gaming-control board.
The New England Patriots, who have a bye in the first round of the playoffs after going an NFL-best 14-2 during the regular season, are favorites to win the Super Bowl.
The Patriots won 31.6 percent of the time in Accuscore’s simulations, just under the 33 percent chance the Las Vegas odds translate to. Yet the odds didn’t work in the Patriots’ favor three years ago, when they rolled to an 18-0 record before losing in the Super Bowl to the New York Giants.
“These (playoff) teams are the best in the league,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, 33, told reporters this week. “There is very little margin for error at this point.”
A first-round victory would send the Jets to New England, where they were routed by the Patriots 45-3 a month ago.
While the Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons and Chicago Bears have first-round byes, the team with the best chance of winning the Super Bowl among those playing this weekend is the defending-champion New Orleans Saints.
The Saints are a 10-point favorite on the road against the Seahawks in tomorrow’s National Football Conference game.
Oddsmakers put the Saints’ chances of retaining the title at 8 percent, according to RJ Bell, president of Las Vegas-based handicapping information website Pregame.com.
The Saints won the Super Bowl in 8.1 percent of Accuscore’s playoff simulations. New Orleans made the playoffs as a wild-card team after finishing second to Atlanta in their division, beating the top-seeded Falcons 17-14 on the road in the next-to-last game of the regular season.
“The picture looks pretty good for them because they’ve proven they can win on the road,” said former Pro Bowl safety Rodney Harrison, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Patriots who’s now an NFL analyst for NBC.
The Saints beat the Seahawks in 79.5 percent of the simulations by Accuscore, which correctly predicted the outcome in 69 percent of the 192 games featuring playoff teams this season. Accuscore’s simulations take into account hundreds of variables, from injuries and weather to the time remaining on the clock and yardage needed on each down.
The Seahawks, the first team with a losing record to make the NFL playoffs in a full season, are the only club with a lower probability to win in the first round than the Jets, according to Accuscore.
“There’s a lot of luck involved in making runs in the playoffs,” Ryan said during a news conference this week. “There’s no time like the present to get it done. We’re going to put everything we have and all our chips into play.”
The Baltimore Ravens are given a 63.3 percent chance by Accuscore of winning on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs on Jan. 9 in this weekend’s other AFC playoff matchup, while the Philadelphia Eagles won 52.4 percent of simulations against the Green Bay Packers in the weekend’s final NFC game.
Las Vegas’s odds put the Ravens’ chances at winning in the first round at 62 percent, with the Eagles at 57 percent.
ACCUSCORE SIMULATIONS Team Percentage Chance to win Super Bowl ======================================== New England Patriots 31.6 Pittsburgh Steelers 13.2 Atlanta Falcons 12.7 Chicago Bears 9.1 New Orleans Saints 8.1 Baltimore Ravens 5.5 Philadelphia Eagles 5.4 Green Bay Packers 5.2 Indianapolis Colts 4.9 New York Jets 3.0 Kansas City Chiefs 1.1 Seattle Seahawks 0.2 Courtesy: Accuscore LAS VEGAS ODDS Team Percentage Chance to win Super Bowl ========================================= New England Patriots 33 Pittsburgh Steelers 12 Atlanta Falcons 11 New Orleans Saints 8 Philadelphia Eagles 7 Chicago Bears 7 Green Bay Packers 6 Baltimore Ravens 5 Indianapolis Colts 5 New York Jets 3 Kansas City Chiefs 2 Seattle Seahawks less than 1 Courtesy: Pregame.com