To enter the team-of-the-decade converstation, Manning and the Colts have to get their hands on another Lombardi Trophy following this season.

One year ago I wrote a column about the Colts’ opportunity to cement their legacy.

With Tom Brady out and no clear frontrunner in the AFC, the door was open for the Colts to make another Super Bowl appearance.

It didn’t happen.

A year later, the Colts have a similar chance.

The AFC is still wide open. The Patriots are struggling, the defending champs are on the brink of elimination, and the Colts are a win away from securing homefield advantage.

The Colts have piled up almost every regular-season accolade imaginable this decade.

With a win over the Broncos Sunday they will set two NFL records — the longest regular-season win streak (22) and the most wins in a decade (114).

The Colts’ nine playoff appearances this decade (including this season) ties an NFL record and they have won their division six times in the 2000s.

But like the 49ers of the 90s — whose win total in a decade (113) is about to be broken — the Colts only have one Super Bowl title to show for it.

This decade the Patriots have three Super Bowl titles and the Steelers have two.

Another Super Bowl victory puts the Colts in the team-of the-decade conversation.

But like any team, the Colts have their share of flaws.

They can’t run the ball and the issue has gotten progressively worse over the years.

In 2004 the Colts’ rushing offense ranked 15th, in ‘05 it was 16th, in ‘06 and ‘07 it was 18th, last season it was 31st, and this year it ranks last.

But wait, there’s hope. Last season, the Cardinals’ rushing attack was ranked dead last and they made it to the Super Bowl.

And the Colts run game has improved recently. Over the past four games the Colts have averaged 92.3 yards rushing and have scored at least one rushing touchdown in each of their past five contests.

Another issue for the Colts is their secondary. The Texans and Patriots shredded the young unit recently and they currently rank 19th in pass defense.

With Marlin Jackson and Bob Sanders out for the season the secondary has held its own, but there is little room for error or injury.

Quick, name Melvin Bullitt or Antoine Bethea’s backup.

As Peyton Manning nears the twilight of his career, he and the Colts have a golden opportunity in front of them. We will soon see what they do with it.

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