It was Vince Lombardi who first told us that both winning and losing were "habits," and the NFL's Week Six schedule pairs the two teams who are better than anyone at each of those traits.
It is hard to say whether the Denver Broncos (5-0) are as good at racking up victories as the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5) are at collecting losses, but either way, the combination of the two at Mile High stadium on Sunday indicates a blowout of epic proportions.
Not just epic perhaps, but potentially historic.
For no team has ever gone into an NFL game as a bigger favorite than the Peyton Manning-led Broncos this weekend, with those shrewd sages of Las Vegas setting the points spread at a eye-popping 28 points.
That tops the previous record of 24, set in 1976 when the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers took on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, an expansion franchise, and duly crushed them 42-0.
Even at that price, it's hard to make a case for the hapless Jags, who have managed just 51 points all season, the same number Manning torched the Dallas Cowboys for in Sunday's classic Texas shootout, albeit courtesy of a kind late donation from a Mr. T. Romo of Arlington.
— Jacksonville Jaguars (@jaguars) October 7, 2013
Throw in the fact that Jaguars top draft pick offensive tackle Luke Joeckel is done for the season with a broken ankle, while quarterback Blaine Gabbert is expected to be out with a strained hamstring – is that a bad thing? – and the smart money points even more towards Denver, despite the enormous spread.
Yahoo Sports asked EA Sports, makers of Madden NFL 25, to weigh in on the debate of not whether a Sunday beatdown would take place in Denver, but of how severe it will be.
Given that the game operates with real-time information to conduct its simulations and has predicted eight of the last 10 Super Bowls correctly – often with scores eerily close to the eventual outcome – the result could be a fair indicator of what to expect from this painful mismatch.
And painful sounds just about right.
Madden predicts a resounding 41-10 triumph for the Broncos, with Manning set to go 32 of 39 for 392 yards and four touchdowns. The game simulation has Denver opening up a 38-3 lead, before eventually turning off the gas midway through the third quarter and kindly allowing Jacksonville a consolation touchdown – a 32-yard pass from Chad Henne to Justin Blackmon – while still covering the spread.
Jacksonville fans, or degenerate gamblers with a self-destruct button, can salvage some hope from the team's recent record against Denver, with three straight victories from 2007, 2008 and 2010. That, though, was before Manning moved to Denver, before the Broncos were a serious championship contender and before the Jaguars stunk up the joint.
But hey, winning is a habit, right? Just ask Vince Lombardi. Hmm, this probably wasn't what he had in mind.