INDIANAPOLIS – Odds are very slim that both teams inside of Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday afternoon will make the playoffs.
Since 1990, when the NFL expanded to 12 playoff participants, 27 teams have started a season 1-3 or 0-4 and have still found a way into the postseason.
That breaks down to about an average of one 1-3/0-4 team each season going on to play meaningful football in January.
Both the Colts and Bears enter Week Five at 1-3.
The Colts have had chances in each of their first four games to find a win in the game's final two minutes.
But in a bottom line business, 1-3 is (indeed) 1-3.
"First of all," Andrew Luck said earlier in the week, "no one is walking around saying, 'Hey, we could easily be 4-0,' that's not being said.
"We know the reality of it is we've lost three games and we've won one game. Sometimes it can be a little tougher to get over a game when you're sitting on a plane for eight and a half hours after (the Jaguars' loss) flying back and you're kicking yourself for missed opportunities."
The woulda, shoulda, coulda, theme to the start of 2016 for the Colts has them at the quarter pole of the year in a position no one was expecting coming into September.
After four weeks, the Colts are two games back of the division-leading Houston Texans.
If fans are looking for a scenario in just how quickly things could change in a positive direction for the Colts, a gander at the schedule provides potential hope.
On Sunday, the Colts will be at home, playing a Bears team likely without their starting quarterback.
The Texans will be visiting the undefeated Minnesota Vikings.
A win from the Colts and a loss for the Texans would set up a Week Six primetime meeting between those two teams, down in Houston, with the winner staking an early claim to the top of the AFC South.
But before any hypotheticals can become reality, the Colts have to eliminate the lack of execution that has plagued them through the first month of 2016.
"Everybody is looking for answers obviously," Chuck Pagano says. "You just look at the tape and it's really, really simple. It's all right there and it's all correctable and we've got the right guys to get this thing turned around and we will get it turned around.
"All you can do is keep coming to work and keep working to get better. You got to improve. You got to find a way to play better early and then finish."**
INTERESTING MATCHUPSBears quarterback Brian Hoyer versus the Colts defense: **Since filling in for Jay Cutler (thumb injury) in Week Two, Hoyer has been very solid. Hoyer has thrown for 300 yards in each of his two starts and hasn't tossed an interception yet. Last week, Hoyer also leaned on a run game that got 111 yards from Indiana University rookie Jordan Howard.
Colts offensive line versus the Bears defensive front: Health is returning for the Indy offensive line and it comes after a week that group would like to forget. Andrew Luck was sacked a career-high six times against the Jaguars. Starters Joe Reitz and Denzelle Good are deemed ready to play on Sunday, so the Colts should have some options with rookie Joe Haeg in the mix on the right side.
- This is the first Colts/Bears meeting in Indianapolis since the two opened up Lucas Oil Stadium back in 2008.
- With 20 rushing yards on Sunday, Frank Gore will pass Hall of Famer Jim Brown for 9th on the NFL's all-time rushing list.
- Colts wide receiver Phillip Dorsett leads the NFL with 23.9 yards per catch.
- Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman was a starter in Indy from 2012-15. Freeman is the NFL's third leading tackler with 41 stops.
- Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer has passed for 300 yards in each of his two starts this season, in relief of Jay Cutler (thumb injury).
- Bears running back Jordan Howard and cornerback Tracy Porter both played at Indiana University. Howard had 111 rushing yards last week. Porter is a starting cornerback.
NOTABLE QUOTESColts Head Coach Chuck Pagano(on utilizing more no-huddle):
"Great question. It's something that we'll continue to have dialogue about and with and talk about it as a staff. There are things from a game plan perspective that you look at where you go no huddle and you get a group on the field and you have to keep them basically on the field. If you want to utilize both tight ends at one point, if you want to go one tight end and three wideouts and stay that way, if you get a back in there, if you go no huddle, you end up having to keep them in there based on the pace that you're going to go. Those are some of the things that go into that. Then just trying to get into a rhythm. Obviously we didn't, but get into a rhythm early and try to help some young guys out. No excuses, but we had three young guys starting up front. All those things, but it's definitely something that we'll talk about."
Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano(on getting Robert Mathis going):
"Again, he's as frustrated as anybody. He's going to put this team on his shoulders. Like a batter in a slump, just keep swinging, don't press, it'll happen. It's like you just have to get that first hit. We just get him the first one. It's like interceptions, coaching the secondary for so long, you hit droughts. They don't come, they don't come, they don't come. It just takes one and then all of a sudden they come bushel basket full."
Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck(on the team's mood):
"Good, great, at work. I've always thought this from day one. Coach Pagano has done an amazing job of staying positive after bad games, good games, whatever it is, he has our mind in the right place. Good mood, little salty in a sense. Guys ready to work and guys ready to start rectifying the wrongs."
Bears Head Coach John Fox(on what attracted the Bears to Jerrell Freeman in free agency):
"He has played very well for us. I believe he is our leading tackler. I liked his range, as far as his pursuit in the passing game. He is very active and very instinctive and he has picked up what Vic (Fangio) and the defensive staff have taught him very well."
Bears Inside Linebacker Jerrell Freeman(on getting ready to play the team he played for the previous four seasons):
"I look at it like it's just funny and crazy. You are in a new place. You see them on film, I am watching games and it's crazy. I guess it's all a part of the NFL, change comes and you just have to be ready. That's the NFL and it's all about change."
Bears Inside Linebacker Jerrell Freeman(on people questioning Andrew Luck's play):
"From the moment he stepped on the field I knew he was a special player. I don't know who is saying that. Whoever is saying that needs to reevaluate themselves. He is a once in a decade type player, once in a lifetime type player. I saw it just from being there and I see it from watching the tape. When he gets time back there he's going to eat you alive. If he does get pressured, he is able to do it with his legs. He is one of the smartest people I've ever been around. Whoever is saying that is a joke."