This weekend’s NFL playoff action gets started with a bang as the Kansas City Chiefs host the Indianapolis Colts. As the top seed in the AFC, the Chiefs are favored by 5.5 points at home with an over/under of 57 points.
Indianapolis may have been the last team to clinch their playoff spot in the AFC, but they’re arguably the hottest team heading into the Divisional Round. After last week’s convincing win over the Texans, the Colts have won 10 of their last 11 games. In fact, last week’s win may have been their most impressive of the season.
Kansas City, on the other hand, won nine of their first 10 games to begin the season, but they were just 3-3 over their final six games of the regular season. The Chiefs also have some unfortunate playoff history to erase, as they’ve lost at home each of the past two seasons. Of course, there are plenty of reasons why the Arrowhead faithful believe this year will be different.
Stopping the Unstoppable
There simply aren’t enough superlatives to describe the Kansas City offense this season. Patrick Mahomes has been far better than anyone could have imagined. He threw for over 5,000 yards this season with a little help from an elite receiver in Tyreek Hill and an elite tight end in Travis Kelce. Running back Damien Williams is also starting to come along late in the year after the team parted ways with Kareem Hunt.
However, the Indianapolis defense deserves a little credit. They were able to completely shut down a rather potent Houston offense last week. The Colts have far more speed and talent on that side of the ball than most people realize. By no means will they be able to stop the Kansas City offense in its tracks, but the Colts have a chance to put up a little more resistance than most teams have against the Chiefs this season.
Hold the Line
While the Chiefs have relied on their offense to carry them this season, there are serious concerns about the Kansas City defense. The Chiefs gave up 36 points per game this season in their six games against playoff teams. They’ve been shredded on the ground frequently and have also looked vulnerable against quality passing attacks.
The saving grace for Kansas City’s defense is their pass rush, as they have multiple players who excel at getting after the quarterback. However, the Colts have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Andrew Luck was only sacked 15 times during the regular season. He was also well-protected last week against J.J. Watt and Houston’s pass rush. If the Chiefs can’t find a way to get to Luck, there’s a good chance he’ll be able to pick them apart from the pocket.
As noted, the Chiefs have struggled to win playoff games under Reid, even at home. It should be no different facing Luck and the Colts this week. With Mahomes, the Chiefs will have the best player on the field, which is why they’ve favored in this game. But the Colts have the better defense and the better offensive line, and that means a lot. Bet on the Colts to at least beat the 5.5-point spread and perhaps beat the Chiefs on Saturday.