Colts head of NFL class

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:42 AM ET

If they look close enough at the remainder of the NFL schedule, the 1972 Miami Dolphins need not get nervous just yet.

Just the same, they best keep the victory cigar in the humidor for a little while longer.

Every season at around this time, talk begins on whether those '72 Fish will finally get some company as the only team to enjoy a perfect season.

There's only one team eligible this fall, and the Indianapolis Colts should be quite a story the rest of the regular season and playoffs.

While quietly rolling to a 7-0 record with big talk of a big defence to add to the established offence led by quarterback Peyton Manning, the season gets interesting now.

When the schedule was printed, the biggest threat was expected to come next Monday night in New England.

The Colts' recent struggles against the two-time Super Bowl champs -- particularly in playoff losses each of the past two seasons -- made this their expected litmus test.

But Indy has been so impressive, and the Pats so ordinary, that oddsmakers have made the Colts three-point road favourites.

As futile as the Pats looked in winning a Sunday night game that statistically was dominated by the Buffalo Bills, don't be surprised if the odds drift higher. If there's such thing as logic in picking NFL games, ask yourself if Bills quarterback Kelly Holcomb could move the ball with authority against that secondary, what will Manning do?

Once the Colts get past the Patriots, they catch a small break when they play host to the Houston Texans.

After that comes the meat of the schedule and there is plenty of gristle. During a wicked six-week stretch the Colts have five tests -- road games in Cincinnati, Jacksonville and Seattle with home games to Pittsburgh and Seattle.

If the Colts get past that, they deserve to share a cigar with those Dolphins.

QUICK KICKS

- Giants quarterback Eli Manning is a fun player to watch. He'll be even more likable when he keeps each sentence to one cliche, down from the current three.

- Most productive passer in the league? That would be Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who is 3-for-3, all touchdowns.

- Canadian Shaun Suisham made both field goal attempts for the Cowboys (each from 21 yards) in his NFL debut.

- The 1976 Tampa Bay Bucs also can rest easy. With the Houston Texans winning on Sunday, the Bucs' status as the only team to go through a season winless is intact.

- Hope you enjoyed the run, Redskins.

- Maybe Terrell Owens had a point about Donovan McNabb not being all he's cracked up to be. Either that, or the Eagles QB is hurt more than he's letting on. McNabb's first 12 passes against the Broncos fell incomplete.

- Back to the Chargers. Antonio Gates' three-touchdown performance confirmed a changing of the guard. Though the Kansas City Chiefs' Tony Gonzalez had a touchdown of his own in the game, Gates has to be considered the best tight end in the NFL.

- Barring a rash of injuries or a losing streak, the Colts will be favoured in every game they play, up to the Super Bowl.

- Hey Joe Theismann, take a breath. You, too, Paul Maguire and Mike Patrick. An over-produced telecast threatened to ruin a good Bills-Patriots game Sunday night.


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