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The AFC Divisional game on Saturday between the Colts and Chiefs is set up to be a shootout. These teams didn’t face each other during the regular season so the scouring reports will be essential. They did have four common opponents (Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars). Indianapolis went 1-3 while Kansas City went 3-1. The Chiefs are healthy and well rested but ended the regular season losing two of their last three games. The Colts are riding high after winning their Wild Card game on the road. They are playing with house money and should be a confident team going into Arrowhead Stadium.
Keys To The Game
The Colts must take care of the ball. They can’t afford to give Kansas City any extra possessions. Indianapolis must also win the time of possession, meaning the rushing attack will need to duplicate last week’s performance. Limiting the Chiefs’ offensive opportunities will go a long way to getting a victory.
The last thing is protecting quarterback Andrew Luck. With the likelihood of a high scoring game, giving Luck time to pass will be important. He’s proven to be deadly accurate when given tine. The defense will have their hands full. They will need to force some turnovers and keep the Chiefs’ weapons in front of them.
The Chiefs need to get their offense going, utilizing all the weapons at quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ disposal. It’s about big plays and scoring points in bunches. Mahomes is a gunslinger but must not be reckless and avoid turnovers. They must sprinkle in the run to loosen up the Colts’ pass rush along with with some quick screens and jet sweeps. Time of possession is less important for Kansas City. As long as they are scoring, they will sacrifice possessions.
The defense will need to take chances to create turnovers. That means blitzing and jumping routes. They will trade big plays for takeaways. It’s less about the defense shutting the Colts down than it is about slowing them down.
The x-factors for the Colts will be cornerbacks Pierre Desir and Kenny Moore against Chiefs’ receivers Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins. Indianapolis must limit big plays downfield, especially when Mahomes starts scrambling and improvising.
The x-factors for the Chiefs are edge rushers Justin Houston and Dee Ford against Colts’ tackles Anthony Castonzo and Braden Smith. Applying pressure on Andrew Luck will be key to slowing the Colts offense. Both edge rushers are good at stripping the ball as well. This will have a ripple effect on Kansas City’s defense, hopefully positive.
While Indianapolis feeling good and playing loose after last week’s victory, Kansas City is a different animal and Arrowhead Stadium is a tough place to win at. The Colts defense will be stretched to the limit. The Chiefs will score enough to advance.