This season is clearly not what the late NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle had in mind when he envisioned league parity. Never before have two teams remained undefeated this late in the season.
Heading into Week 15, ESPN asked AccuScore to determine the probability of both the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints going undefeated for the regular season. How might they fare against each other in Super Bowl XLIV?
We fired up our banks of supercomputers hidden deep within our underground lair in Gotham City. OK, we don't really have an underground lair but we do have supercomputers and we're actually in Los Angeles. Minor details.
The biggest factor is the Colts' tendency to rest starters. Since they have AFC home field locked up already, who is to say whether Peyton Manning plays the full 60 minutes from this point forward? Week 15 appears solid for both teams.
The Colts have a 61 percent chance of beating the host Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday. Given their December tendencies, the Dallas Cowboys probably will roll over and play dead in New Orleans. Then again, the Cowboys might run it straight up the middle every play the whole game -- not that I am a bitter Cowboys fan or anything.
Here is how the rest of the season stacks up, as we present data on the Colts playing out the season aggressively and also on the Colts resting their starters, as they historically have.
Should these two teams remain undefeated and meet each other in Miami in February, the ramifications would be obvious. There will be numerous sightings of Kim Kardashian, assuming she and Reggie Bush haven't parted ways again. Plus, someone finally will surpass the 1972 Miami Dolphins' undefeated season right there in South Florida.
I am sure there are some folks in places like San Diego and Minnesota that might have something to say about all this. Even other places like Cincinnati or Green Bay or Philadelphia. Places other than Arlington, Texas -- not that I am a bitter Cowboys fan or anything.
But for fun, AccuScore simulated a Colts-Saints matchup on a neutral field and not surprisingly, the data shows the game coming down to the wire. The Saints own a slight edge, winning by just under a field goal on average.
Both quarterbacks post solid Super Bowl performances, with Manning (projected production: 300 passing yards, 2.2 touchdown passes and 1.2 interceptions) getting a small advantage over Drew Brees (projected production: 275 passing yards, 1.8 touchdowns and 0.9 interceptions).
The Saints' ground game is projected to outproduce the Colts' rushing attack, 130 to 90 yards.
And the projected number of champagne bottles on ice February 7? Members of the '72 Miami Dolphins 0, Me 1.
Gibby McCaleb is Chief Operating Officer of AccuScore.