A divisional playoff matchup that includes the Colts and Chiefs appeared not possible a pair months in the past given the standing of what was thought of a rebuilding Indianapolis group. As arduous as it’s to recollect now, the identical could be mentioned for Kansas Metropolis, which earlier than the season was breaking in what amounted to a rookie quarterback.
But right here we’re, with Andrew Luck and Patrick Mahomes offering the NFL playoff QB matchup we by no means knew we would have liked.
The passers would be the focus of the hype main into the divisional playoffs for good causes — Luck’s comeback story and Mahomes’ historic numbers. However the keys to victory for each groups are embedded deeper.
For instance, the Colts are right here because of a revived dashing assault round Marlon Mack and what looks like an unstoppable third-down offense. Their defensive revival behind rookie linebacker Darius Leonard cannot be understated; the Texans, who scored simply seven factors within the wild-card spherical, would agree.
In Kansas Metropolis, hiding behind the glare of Mahomes is an underrated dashing assault, even with out Kareem Hunt, and arguably the NFL’s greatest set of mismatch creators in Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. The star of the Chiefs’ protection, sort out Chris Jones, lastly could have some assistance on the again finish with security Eric Berry wholesome sufficient to play.
Under are Sporing Information’ picks and predictions for the Colts vs. Chiefs divisional playoff sport.
NFL playoff picks: Colts at Chiefs
- Date, time: Saturday, Jan. 12, 4:35 p.m.
- Location: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas Metropolis, Mo.
- TV: NBC
- Odds: Chiefs -5; Complete: 57.5
Tadd Haislop: As SN’s Vinnie Iyer has pointed out, the Colts current the Chiefs a handful of points. Indianapolis’ cross safety has been cash, and Luck’s decisiveness as a passer, mixed together with his top-notch pocket presence, can be a problem for Kansas Metropolis’s cross rush.
Additional complicating issues for the Chiefs: They gave up a full 5 yards per rush within the common season, second worst within the league. The Colts ran all around the Texans, and so they comprehend it’s a great way to regulate the clock and maintain Mahomes off the sector within the divisional spherical.
However Indianapolis’ younger protection has not seen an offense fairly just like the one it is going to see in Kansas Metropolis. Technically no person has, because the Chiefs boast the NFL’s No. 1 offense with 35.three factors per sport within the common season.
If Mahomes performs as much as his potential, or near it, the Colts can’t cease him.
Decide: Chiefs, 35-24
Vinnie Iyer: The Colts, armed with Luck and powered by Mack, can undoubtedly put up some factors in Arrowhead, and so they will not be intimidated by the raucous playoff ambiance with Luck and Reich retaining them cool by way of 4 quarters.
The rested Chiefs, nevertheless, will exploit the holes within the Colts’ promising younger protection — one thing the Texans couldn’t do. Mahomes will see huge performs open up due to good safety and his skill to increase performs outdoors the pocket.
This looks like a “final possession wins” sport, and Mahomes will start his playoff legend with a profitable game-winning drive.
Decide: Chiefs 38-34