The gridiron oracle called the Cold, Hard Football Facts once again bucked convention and the "pundits" and nailed a big-time NFL contest.
Jacksonville has received little attention from the national media this year. But in our look at Sunday's Icy Issues, we asked if Jack Del Rio was the real deal. The Icier Answer was an emphatic "yes."
"Don't be surprised if Jacksonville knocks off the champs Monday night," noted the Cold, Hard Football Facts on Sunday. "At the very least, it should be a good, old-fashioned bloodbath – and possibly one in which Del Rio and his boys stake a claim to a place among the AFC elite."
They certainly did, with an emphatic and physical 9-0 win over the defending Super Bowl champs.
The Cold, Hard Football Facts were not surprised. On Monday, in our Gridiron Grid, we called for an outright upset by the 3-point-underdog Jaguars.
"The defending champs get all of the attention, but Jacksonville continues its quiet efficiency," we reported. Our information came not from some internal locker-room source. It merely came from the all-knowing presence of the Cold, Hard Football Facts. "In a close, hard-fought game, the possible rust of Roethlisberger and a raucous home crowd make the difference."
Jacksonville has been percolating on the periphery of the NFL elite for about a year and a half. There's a long way to go in the 2006 season. But opening with a win over Dallas, a popular favorite to win the NFC East, and then another against the defending champs certainly makes a statement about the solidity of the 2006 Jaguars.
There's no rest for the wicked promising, either. Jacksonville walks into 2-0 Indy Sunday in an early-season battle for supremacy in the AFC South.
There were a lot of numerical highlights from the Pittsburgh-Jacksonville game, including the utter statistical domination by the home team, and we hope to follow up on many of those this week.
But perhaps this is the most interesting: It was the lowest scoring game in the history of Monday Night Football, which began in 1970.