If the Colts are going to earn at least 12 wins for the eighth-straight season, they must get hot right now.

Seven straight seasons of 12 wins are more is quite an accomplishment. Eight seems like a stretch, but with No. 18 behind center it's impossible to rule out completely.

With one of their toughest schedules in recent memory, the Colts enter a crucial four-week stretch before their Week 7 bye. Emerging with three wins will be paramount in keeping the 12-win streak alive.

It won’t be easy – three of those next four are on the road. However, the match-ups are favorable for the Colts.

Sunday they travel to face an inspired Denver team reeling from the recent death of wide receiver Kenny McKinley. But the Broncos can’t run, their secondary is banged up (including Champ Bailey), and they have lost four straight to the Colts by a combined 58 points.

After Denver, the next three games are at Jacksonville, home against Kansas City, and at Washington – all winnable contests. The Jags are erratic, the Chiefs are 2-0 but are still the Chiefs, and the Redskins’ are average at best.

Should the Colts lose a couple more games before the bye, it’s not the end of the world.

In 2008 they started 3-4 and reeled off their next nine to finish 12-4.

In 2008 the Colts got mauled by the Bears in their opener, started the season 3-4, and still somehow got to 12 wins.

However, while the 2010 Colts are capable of shaking off a slow start, getting to 12 wins won’t happen without a strong run over the next four weeks. The schedule won’t allow it.

Following their bye the Colts face Houston, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, New England, San Diego, Dallas, and Tennessee – all potential playoff teams.

Only the Eagles, Patriots, and Titans are on the road, but even the eternal Colts’ optimist couldn’t envision the team getting out of that stint without a loss or two.

Colts fans shouldn’t fret if the 12-win streak is snapped anyway.

Three of the last four times the Colts rested starters at the end of the regular season they were one-and-done in the playoffs.

Fighting for something down the stretch – a playoff berth, homefield advantage, or a division title – could do them some good.

Besides, does anyone really want to relive the “should they rest their starters” debate with this team?

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