The quest for perfection

Two teams have a chance at perfection as the 2011-12 NFL campaign rolls down the stretch. The defending champion Green Bay Packers enter the remaining six regular season games with an immaculate 10-0 ledger, while the hapless Indianapolis Colts are at the other end of the spectrum with a 0-10 mark.

Pete Korner, who distributes the betting numbers for the majority of Nevada’s legal sports books as owner of the Sports Club, says that math alone makes the Packers 3/1 against going undefeated. He also makes the Colts 3/1 to finish the campaign without a victory.

However, Korner says that those odds would be closer to even money if he were actually booking those two proposition bets.

“An actual math formula is one thing,” Korner warned, “But actually looking at the remaining schedule and figuring in all the other variables is quite another.”

During the NFL’s 45-year Super Bowl history, just 14 teams have made it to 10-0. Four of those squads lost in Game 11 and three more lost in Game 12, leaving seven teams in the Super Bowl era to have ever breathed the rarified air of a 12-0 start.

The 1972 Miami Dolphins and the 2007 New England Patriots are the only two teams ever to race through an NFL schedule unblemished. That gives any NFL franchise a 0.15 percent chance of going undefeated at the start of any season.

Green Bay now has the tough task of making back-to-back road trips to likely playoff teams Detroit (on Thanksgiving) and New York (Giants). The Oakland Raiders and a rejuvenated Carson Palmer visit Lambeau Field in Week 14 before the final road game of the year against the wildly unpredictable Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15. Green Bay wraps up the 2011 campaign by hosting division rivals Chicago and Detroit (for the second time in five weeks).

Mike McCarthy’s troops are outscoring their opponents 355-212 through the first 10 games for a league-leading plus 143 point differential. They are first in points scored per game (35.5), third in passing yards per game (304.9) and fourth in overall yards per game (406.5).

However, a shaky defense might be Green Bay’s Achilles heel in its quest to go 16-0. The Packers are allowing an average of 391.8 YPG (30th) and are yielding an average of 289.3 passing yards per game (31st). The Packers rank 14th in points allowed with 21.2 per contest.

The other end of the gamut finds the Indianapolis Colts winless after 10 regular season encounters thanks to a league-worst point differential of minus 169. The Colts have been outscored thus far, 300-131.

The negative statistics don’t end there. The Colts are yielding a league-high 30.0 points per game and are 30th offensively by scoring just 13.1 points per outing.

Only two of the Colts’ last six games will be played against teams with a losing record. This Sunday’s contest against the 2-8 Carolina Panthers and the season finale against the 3-7 Jacksonville Jaguars might provide the Colts with the best chance of putting a “w” on the left side of their ledger.

Indianapolis’ other matchups will feature road contests against New England (6-3) and Baltimore (7-3), and home outings versus Tennessee (5-5) and Houston (7-3).

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