At the moment, the Indianapolis Colts are losing more than they’re winning. Actually - to be perfectly blunt - they’re not winning at all. The Colts are 0-8, which, over a full season, projects to 0-16.
Nobody’s ever finished 0-16 in the NFL.
Not the Jets, not the Saints, not even Sam Wyche.
Now, I’ve spent much of the week analyzing the data and studying the videotape - I even visited Ron Jaworski at his somewhat cozy one-bedroom, two-VCR, no-bath basement apartment at NFL Films in Mt. Laurel, N.J. - and have broken down the key components of the Colts’ collapse:
They’re not running or passing well.
They’re not covering or tackling well.
They’re being outscored.
Remarkably, Indianapolis was a playoff team a season ago and one play away from the Super Bowl two seasons ago; now they’re the league’s only winless team. It’s one thing for the wheels to fall off, it’s another for the entire chassis to go over the cliff.
The Colts have lost ‘em close (16-10, 37-35, 16-12, 24-22, 9-6) and lost ‘em far (31-6, 31-3, 35-19). Coach Lindy Infante is starting to look like an older Rick Venturi.
In addition, quarterback Jim Harbaugh - who’s gone from Captain Comeback to Lieutenant Lose-a-Lot - cracked a bone in his hand while trying to slug NBC analyst Jim Kelly last weekend. Harbaugh was unhappy with comments Kelly had made on-air. (Geez, if I started punching out Dick Vitale every time I heard him say something I didn’t like, I’d be fighting professionally by now.)
Anyway, even though I never know what time it is in Indianapolis, I have often supported its timeless football franchise. That support ends today. The Colts are four-point underdogs at home Sunday against Tampa Bay, and I will gladly take my Buccaneers.
As always, all picks against the point spread are for recreational purposes only:
Cowboys at 49ers (-7-1/2): Sure, 49ers are 7-1, but only after league allowed them to schedule a homecoming opponent every Sunday for two months. Pick: Cowboys.
Patriots at Vikings (-1-1/2): You know, glancing through Vikings coach Dennis Green’s new book, “No Room For Crybabies,” I must say, it’s not exactly Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” … Patriots, 5-3 en route to 8-8, have dumped playbook in favor of “Dianetics.” Pick: Vikings.
Seahawks at Broncos (-9-1/2): My fast-maturing nieces, Jennifer, 14, and Lisa, 12, sent me the following telegram Thursday: “Dear Uncle Norman STOP When’s the last time you had a date? STOP Seahawks are better than you surmised STOP Send money, for once STOP.” Pick: Seahawks.
Dolphins at Bills (-1): Dolphins DT Tim Bowens doubly upset last weekend nobody told him Daylight Saving Time had ended, so he showed up at Pro Player Stadium an hour early Sunday, plus nobody told him game was moved to Monday night. Pick: Bills.
Eagles (-3-1/2) at Cardinals: Eagles are 4-0 at home, 0-4 on road. Spotting such trends is what allows The Man to purchase a set of high-quality, expertly crafted Waterford crystal toasting flutes for all his toasting needs! Pick: Cardinals.
Jaguars (-1) at Oilers: Leading paleoanthropologists recently confirmed that 112,000-year-old footprints discovered in South Africa appear to be identical to those of Dave Krieg. Pick: Jaguars.
Lions at Packers (-9-1/2): Last week, coach Mike Holmgren gave his Packers the whole week off. This week, he’s lined up pregame pep talk from Deepak Chopra. Pick: Lions.
Redskins (-3-1/2) at Bears: Note to Norv Turner: Rome wasn’t built in a day, but you’ve gotta believe they found a good run defense inside of a month. Pick: Bears.
Rams at Falcons (-2-1/2): Falcons so inept offensively, when they tried to move the clock back an hour last Sunday, they actually lost yardage. Pick: Rams.
Raiders at Panthers (-4): Al Davis reportedly in censed by Raiders coach Joe Bugel’s request to “work from home” one day a week. Pick: Panthers.
Chargers at Bengals (even): To make offensive production seem greater, Bengals have switched to the metric system. Pick: Chargers.
Ravens at Jets (-6): During bye week, Jets’ Brian Hansen organized the “Million Holder March.” Pick: Ravens.
Steelers at Chiefs (-3-1/2): Yo, Greg Lloyd: Caller ID, my man, Caller ID. Pick: Steelers.
Last week: 11-3. Season record: 61-55-4.
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