Usually by Thanksgiving, NFL fans aren't still talking about there being any undefeated teams. But this year's Indianapolis Colts have earned themselves a chance at surpassing the 1972 Miami Dolphins' perfect record of 17-0.
Will Indianapolis eventually do it? The answer most surely is no.
When one thinks about the long history of the NFL, and that the Dolphins were the only ones to finish undefeated, the odds become very slim. Factor in that parity, free agency and the salary cap have made teams more equal than ever, and those odds become slimmer. Since the regular season is two games longer now, the task has become even more difficult.
In fact, it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see the Colts lose their first game this Monday night to Pittsburgh, so the pick here is to take the 8 points with the Steelers.
There are a number of circumstances that point to there being at least a close game Monday.
For instance, Pittsburgh has won its last nine games against Indianapolis. Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is 18-1 as a regular season starter, with his only two losses in two years coming to New England.
Of Pitt's three setbacks this year, two were in overtime and one came on a last-second field goal. Roethlisberger was the QB in the Week 3 loss to the Patriots, while an inept Tommy Maddox led them to defeat in his only two starts.
Pittsburgh is an excellent road team, winning and covering every away game except last week with Maddox. Indy is 1-3 at home against the spread.
Also, if there was a team known for breaking streaks lately, it would be Pitt. The Steelers ended New England and Philadelphia's unbeaten strings during back-to-back weeks last year.
Really, the only thing pointing in Indy's favor is the fact that they've won every game this season by seven points or more, which is impressive.
Even if the Colts do get by the Steelers this week, a loss is inevitable as a tough schedule awaits them. From Dec. 11-24 there are games versus Jacksonville, San Diego and Seattle. The prediction is for two total Colt losses.
Checking out the weather for a football game is always a good idea before making a wager. Point spreads shrink and totals lower when cold, rain and wind are part of the equation. Footballs can get hard or slippery, and the Chicago-San Francisco game showed how wind can make things finish close and go Under.
The statistical oddity of the year award so far must go to Green Bay. The Packers have outscored their opponents 218-204, but have managed only a 2-8 record. The Pack shot their wad in a 52-3 win over New Orleans.
We mustn't forget about our neighbors to the north who know that there is more to life than just hockey. The 93rd Grey Cup is being contested Sunday between Montreal and Edmonton of the Canadian Football League.
Not too many people around here follow the CFL, especially since it isn't televised. But a quick glance at the board last week revealed that both semi-final games went Under the total. Under the impression that defense wins championships even in the CFL, the pick here is on the Under.