The Indianapolis Colts have started 0-4 and are regarded as one of the worst teams in the NFL. The organization is hoping and praying that Peyton Manning can return in time to lead the team on a comeback run, perhaps as early as November.
But this team has so many obstacles and problems that even Manning's return cannot save the team.
Even if Manning returns, the Colts are done. Here are four reasons why.
Only one team in history has gone 0-4 and went on to make the postseason. But with Curtis Painter heading the offense, that seems unlikely.
Consistently ranked at the bottom of the power rankings, this Colts team could very possibly go 0-8 before Manning returns, if not worse, in which case, it would be almost mathematically impossible to make playoffs.
0-4 is too deep of a hole even for a first ballot Hall of Famer in Peyton Manning, who would have to be perfect when he returns to give the Colts even a remote chance.
The Houston Texans at 3-1 look like a solid team. They seem poised finally make it to the playoffs, something they failed to do for most of recent NFL history.
Both teams are much better teams than the Colts are right now and likely will be too much for the Colts to overcome.
The Colts as a team are very quarterback dependent. Everything about the Colts offense, from the primarily pass catching tight ends, good receiving running back in Joseph Addai and with depth players such as Pierre Garcon being speeders, the team is truly built around its quarterback.
Despite Painter's solid performance against Tampa Bay on Monday, I do not believe he is capable of leading the Colts back from 0-4 into contention.
While he had a few good throws, he also had many poor ones, often with great inaccuracy.
And while he is an upgrade over Kerry Collins, he will not be able to improve the Colts enough for them to make the postseason.
Peyton Manning doesn't play defense. Or special teams.
This Colts defense has given up too many points this season. Its best performance was against a struggling Steelers team, and the Colts still gave up 20 points.
This team is filled with holes, and Manning alone can't hide all the problems with his return.
The Colts are done this season, regardless of whether Manning returns or not.