Packers chase perfection, Colts try to avoid it

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“But really, not to be cliche, it’s about the next game. Because if you don’t get No. 12, that talk’s over. We won’t shy away from the talk if we get to that, but it’s a hypothetical situation.”

The reality is the Packers will be favored in their remaining five games, three at home. They visit the Giants on Sunday in what some think will be their toughest test. They also get the Raiders at home, visit the Chiefs, then finish with consecutive divisional games at Lambeau Field against the Bears and Lions.

It is not an easy path, and Green Bay fully will deserve the 16-0 mark if it gets there.

Just as Indianapolis will deserve matching the ignominious 0-16 Detroit compiled in 2008. Yes, the Mannings, uh, Colts have a monstrous excuse for flopping: Peyton Manning’s neck surgery and subsequent sidelining, something they clearly were ill-prepared to deal with.

But 0-11? And with some losses against the dregs of the league: Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Jacksonville and, on Sunday, Carolina _ perhaps their best opportunity to get off this schneid?

The old saw that others will step up for the team when a star goes down certainly has not applied in Indy. Instead of stepping up, just about everyone from Reggie Wayne to Dallas Clark to Dwight Freeney have fallen down. And they haven’t been able to get up as the losses mount.

Indianapolis is near the bottom in scoring, various offensive and defensive statistics, turnover differential and, naturally, wins.

Curtis Painter was not ready to be a starting quarterback, bringing Kerry Collins out of a short retirement backfired, injuries have plagued the roster, and coach Jim Caldwell and his staff have been at, well, a loss on how to fix anything.

Not that the Colts are giving up, even with New England, Baltimore, Tennessee and Houston, a combined 30-14, on the schedule before they finish with at the Jaguars. Tight end Jacob Tamme is searching for silver-and-blue linings, hoping for a carry-over from a decent second half against Carolina.

As if decent will get it done with the imposing schedule that’s ahead.

“There toward the end, those last few drives, we didn’t think there was any way we’d be stopped. So I think that’s a positive thing,” Tamme said. “I think the attitude on the field and in the huddle was a positive thing, and something to grab ahold of and take going forward. The way that things have gone so far this year, that’s not easy to do, to keep believing in each other, and we do despite the fact that we haven’t done what we want to do this year so far.”

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AP Sports Writers Michael Marot in Indianapolis and Chris Jenkins in Green Bay contributed to this story.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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