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While the Green Bay Packers are garnering attention in their quest to go undefeated, there is another team on an 11-game streak: the Indianapolis Colts.
Unfortunately for Indianapolis, their streak is going in the opposite direction.
The Colts are the last remaining winless team in the NFL with a record of 0-11. They are trying to avoid becoming just the second team to go winless in a 16 game regular season. The first team to reach that milestone of losing was the Detroit Lions in 2008.
Indianapolis had a very unfortunate break when they lost four-time MVP quarterback Peyton Manning to a neck injury prior to the season. Manning has not played this year and while he has not been placed on injured reserve, he is unlikely to return this season.
Attempting to fill the void left by Manning has been quite challenging for the Colts. Seventeen year veteran Kerry Collins began the season as the starter before being placed on injured reserve with a concussion after just three games. Curtis Painter stepped in for Collins, making his first career start against Tampa Bay in Week 4.
In eight starts, Painter threw nine interceptions compared to just six touchdowns. Following the eight losses, Painter was benched this week for Dan Orlovsky. Ironically, Orlovsky started seven games for the infamous 0-16 Lions team in 2008.
But the quarterback hasn’t been the only reason for the Colts’ struggles.
Their defense ranks last in points allowed, surrendering nearly 30 points-per-game. Indianapolis is also 29th in total yards allowed and 31st in rush defense, giving up 150.6 yards a game.
These terrible numbers prompted the firing of defensive coordinator Larry Coyer this week.
The Colts face a considerable challenge in the final five games of the season, taking on four teams with winning records, including the Patriots this Sunday. The Colts travel to Baltimore next week before two straight divisional home games against Tennessee and Houston.
Indianapolis could very conceivably be 0-15 heading into their season finale in Jacksonville. While they will not go out lightly, it will definitely be a tough road to the Colts’ first win.