A computer has determined what most Jets fans think they know about the quarterback competition: Geno Smith gives them a better chance to win than Mark Sanchez.
PredictionMachine.com has run 50,000 simulations of the Jets season this year (along with the rest of the NFL), a process based off probable starters on both sides of the ball and matched up for all 16 regular season games plus the playoffs. The simulations, which correctly predicted the Ravens winning prior to the Super Bowl last year, have the Jets marginally better with the rookie Smith starting under center. All players are ranked on dozens of different criteria to make the head-to-head simulation of the season as accurate as possible.
Metro New York asked PredictionMachine.com general manager Paul Bessire to simulate the season with Smith as the starter and separately with Sanchez as the starter for all 16 games, to see who gives the team the best chance to win.
“We currently have the snaps split up almost exactly 50/50 in the simulations for the season,” Bessire said. “Utilizing our NFL Draft analysis to help with the inputs for Geno Smith, the Jets essentially go 8-8 if he starts all 16 games and 7-9 if it’s Sanchez all year. Hopefully, realistic fans would take that.”
That might just be good enough to salvage head coach Rex Ryan’s job, especially after this team was panned as equivalent to an expansion franchise before April’s NFL Draft.
As far as the season as a whole, the “Predictalator” has the 49ers beating the Broncos in the Super Bowl, making amends for their loss to the Ravens last year. The Patriots are the class of the AFC East, winning the division, and the Jets are at the bottom of the division, with a 24.5 percent chance of making the playoffs.
“The average fan looks at the Jets and sees the worst set of skill position players in recent memory— a major red flag to the casual observer in our fantasy football culture. Meanwhile, our simulation analysis sees how a Top 5 overall defense that gets to play the Bills and Dolphins each twice, Browns, Titans and Raiders and should not need much from its offense to get to seven wins or even playoff contention,” Bessire said. “Over a full, 16-game schedule, Geno Smith starting at quarterback is worth an additional half a win more than Mark Sanchez as the starter all year, but this is a playable pick either way. Even if the Jets start 2-7 through the bye week— both a real possibility and a great time to switch quarterbacks if they have not already— five of the last six games look very winnable.”
The computer has spoken. It remains to be seen how it plays out on the field.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.