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Indianapolis Colts vs. Kansas City Chiefs Prediction, Preview, and Odds

Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts, fresh off a win in the wild card round, looks to upend a second division winner as they face Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs Saturday afternoon

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It’s an AFC Divisional Playoff matchup in the Midwest. The Indianapolis Colts are on the road as they travel to face the Kansas City Chiefs Saturday afternoon. Indianapolis advanced by knocking off Houston 21-7 on the road in the AFC Wild Card round last Saturday. Kansas City had a bye week last week: they won the AFC West by defeating Oakland 35-3 at home on December 30 in their regular season finale. The Colts lead the all-time regular season series 12-9 though the Chiefs took a 30-14 win on the road in the last meeting on October 30, 2015. Indianapolis has won all four previous playoff meetings, including a 45-44 home win in the last matchup on January 4, 2014.

A Quick Review of the Season to Date

Indianapolis Colts Review

Indianapolis picked up a win in week 17 to punch their ticket to the postseason. Against the Texans in the wild card round, the Colts ran all over the league’s third-best run defense to jump out early and then held Houston at bay. Indianapolis led 14-0 after the opening quarter and 21-0 at the half while keeping Houston out of the end zone until just under 11 minutes to play in the game. The Colts held a 422-322 advantage in total offense, picked up 26 first downs while allowing 20 and controlled time of possession by a 31:14 to 28:46 margin. Both teams turned the ball over once but the Colts rode Marlon Mack’s playoff franchise record 148 yards on the ground en route to the win.

Kansas City Chiefs Review

Kansas City snapped a two game slide as they came up with the critical week 17 win over the Raiders to earn the AFC West crown. The Chiefs had the bye last week and they’ll look to punch their ticket to the AFC Championship Game here. Kansas City got back to their big play mentality as they scored on pass plays of 67 and 89 yards along with a 54 yard pick six. The Chiefs were up 14-0 after the opening quarter and held a 21-0 edge late in the first half. Kansas City had a 409-292 advantage in total offense despite losing the first down battle 20-18 and losing time of possession by a 33:56 to 26:04 margin. The Chiefs forced four turnovers while committing one turnover.

 

Indianapolis Colts Offense vs. Kansas City Chiefs Defense

Running the Ball: Who Has the Edge?

Indianapolis Colts Rushing Offense

Indianapolis was hit and miss with the ground game this season as injuries took a toll, as did some big deficits early in the season. The Colts ran for more than 100 yards just once in their first five games, with the high water mark being 104 yards against the Redskins in week 2. Over the final 11 games of the season, Indianapolis broke the century mark seven times, including two games where they ran for at least 220 yards. In the final month of the regular season, the Colts averaged 108.8 yards per game and 3.8 yards per carry on the ground while finding paydirt six times. In the win over Houston in the wild card round, they racked up 200 yards and a 5.7 yard per carry average.

Marlon Mack leads the team with 195 carries for 908 yards plus nine scores. Jordan Wilkins (60 carries, 336 yards, TD) and Nyheim Hines (85 carries, 314 yards, two TD) are next in line. Andrew Luck contributes 148 yards on the ground from the quarterback position. Mack ran for a franchise playoff record 148 yards against the Texans in the wild card round. The Colts finished the season with nine runs of at least 20 yards this season: Mack had seven of them. Indianapolis moved the chains 96 times on the ground this season.

Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Defense

Kansas City has struggled in all facets of defense this season, which makes it all the more important that their offense carries the day. The Chiefs have had problems stopping the run, allowing at least 100 yards in 12 of their 16 games this season. Kansas City has held just two opponents under 70 yards on the ground this season, with that coming in week 2 against the Steelers, when they allowed a season-low 37 yards, and in a week 6 demolition of the Bengals, when they allowed 65. Kansas City allowed at least 170 yards on the ground six times this season. Over the final quarter of the season, the Chiefs allowed an average of 162.5 yards per game, 4.8 yards per carry and five touchdowns on the ground.

Anthony Hitchens is the team’s leading tackler as he has piled up 135 tackles (81 solo) with 6.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Reggie Ragland contributes 86 tackles (46 solo) with half a sack plus three tackles for loss while Dee Ford (55 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, seven forced fumbles), Xavier Williams (47 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, forced fumble) and Chris Jones (40 tackles, six tackles for loss, two forced fumbles) are solid in the front seven as well. The Chiefs have allowed just 11 runs of at least 20 yards this season but has seen the opposition move the chains 129 times on the ground this season.

Who Has the Edge?

A lot of this will be dictated by score and game situation but in a vacuum, Kansas City could be in trouble. The Colts have been running the ball extremely well down the stretch and they’ve shown a commitment to it that was lacking early on in the season. Indianapolis just ran the ball 35 times for 200 yards against a Texans team that was third in the league in rushing defense as they allowed just 82.7 yards per game. Kansas City gave up at least 170 yards on the ground six times. That’s a cause for concern. The Colts have the edge here.

Advantage: Indianapolis Colts

Aerial Assault: Who Has the Upper Hand?

Indianapolis Colts Passing Offense

Indianapolis, with a healthy Andrew Luck back under center, saw their pass offense take off this season. The Colts threw for more than 300 yards seven times on the season, highlighted by a season high 464 yard showing against the Texans back in week four. Luck threw for at least 285 yards in three other games while being held under 200 yards just three times on the season. In the last four games of the season, the Colts averaged 308.3 yards per game through the air with seven touchdowns and three interceptions while allowing just four sacks.

Andrew Luck is 430 of 639 passing for 4,558 yards with 39 touchdowns against 15 interceptions while getting sacked 18 times. T.Y. Hilton leads the team with 76 receptions for 1,270 yards plus six scores. Eric Ebron has 66 receptions for 750 yards and 12 touchdowns while Hines (63 catches, 425 yards, two TD), Chester Rogers (53 grabs, 485 yards, two TD) and Ryan Grant (35 catches, 334 yards, TD) are solid targets as well. Indianapolis finished the regular season with 53 pass plays that covered at least 20 yards: Hilton led the way with 22 while Ebron was next in line with seven.

Kansas City Chiefs Passing Defense

Kansas City continues to get strafed defensively as even their ability to get after opposing quarterbacks hasn’t stopped them from hemorrhaging yards and points. The Chiefs have allowed more than 300 yards through the air seven times this season. That includes a mind-boggling four games where they have allowed at least 400 yards through the air. The Chiefs were a little better down the stretch though some of that was due to the teams they were facing. In the last month of the season, Kansas City allowed an average of 229 yards per game through the air while allowing seven touchdown passes. The Chiefs did intercept four passes and record 13 sacks in those contests.

Chris Jones leads Kansas City in the sack department as he has racked up 15,5 this season to go along with five pass defenses. Dee Ford chips in 13 sacks, Allen Bailey (38 tackles, tackle for loss, two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, TD) has six sacks while Justin Houston (37 tackles, five tackles for loss, pass defense, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries) adds nine sacks. Steven Nelson (68 tackles, two tackles for loss, 15 pass defenses) leads the team with four interceptions this season. Ron Parker (77 tackles, sack, tackle for loss, five pass defenses, TD) and Kendall Fuller (82 tackles, two tackles for loss, forced fumble, 12 pass defenses) each have two picks while Eric Murray (55 tackles, two pass defenses), Orlando Scandrick (44 tackles, 13 pass defenses, forced fumble), Jones (TD), Houston, Reggie Ragland (half a sack, pass defense), Daniel Sorensen (26 tackles, two pass defenses, fumble recover, TD) and Jordan Lucas (32 tackles, sack, two pass defenses) each have one. All told, the Chiefs have allowed 65 pass plays of at least 20 yards: they have 64 pass defenses and 15 interceptions to go with 52 sacks.

Who Has the Edge?

For all the yards and such that the Chiefs give up, most of their numbers are in the middle of the pack as far as other peripherals. The big key in this matchup is going to be Kansas City’s pass rush against the Colts’ pass protection scheme. For the season, the Chiefs were tied for the league lead in sacks with 52. On the flip side, Luck was dumped just 18 times, which was the fewest in the league. It’s more impressive when you consider that he threw the ball more than 600 times. It’s the irresistible force meeting the immovable object here: call this one a wash.

Advantage: Push

Kansas City Chiefs Offense vs. Indianapolis Colts Defense

Who Has the Edge in the Ground Game?

Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Offense

Kansas City, despite their ability to move the ball on the ground, hasn’t been overly committed to the run game this season. The Chiefs are 23rd in the league as they run the ball on 38.86 percent of their plays this season. Kansas City has broken the century mark on the ground nine times this season, highlighted by a 198 yard showing against the Bengals in week 7. On four other occasions, the Chiefs have run for at least 94 yards, leaving just three games as outliers. Against the 49ers in week 3, Kansas City ran the ball 28 times for 77 yards while in a week 8 win over Denver, they recorded a season-low 49 yards on 18 carries. In week 17 against the Raiders, Kansas City totaled 99 yards and two scores on 27 carries. Over the past month, the Chiefs have averaged 101.8 yards per game on the ground while averaging 4.5 yards per carry plus five scores.

Kareem Hunt ran the ball 181 times for a team-leading 824 yards along with seven scores. After being placed on the restricted list following video footage of an incident back in February, the team released him. Spencer Ware is next in line with 51 carries for 246 yards and two touchdowns. Patrick Mahomes is second on the team with 272 yards plus two scores. Speedster receiver Tyreek Hill has 19 carries for 119 yards this season. Damien Williams got the starting job with Ware missing down the stretch: he has 50 carries for 256 yards plus four scores this season. All told, the Chiefs have 19 runs of at least 20 yards this season while moving the chains 108 times on the ground. Hunt had seven of those big play runs while Williams added four down the stretch in his action.

Indianapolis Colts Rushing Defense

Indianapolis was a tale of two seasons when it came to dealing with the run game of the opposition this year. In the first half of the season, the Colts allowed at least 100 yards in six of their eight games. That included a season-worst 152 yard performance in week 3 against the Eagles. Over the second half of the season, Indianapolis stiffened on the ground, allowing more than 100 yards just twice with the highest total allowed 113 yards against Miami in week 12. In the final four games of the regular season, the Colts allowed 94.3 yards per game, 4.3 yards per carry and four touchdowns on the ground. Indianapolis allowed 105 yards in the wild card game though 76 of those were by Deshaun Watson.

Rookie linebacker Darius Leonard is the leading tackler for the Colts. He racked up 163 tackles (111 solo), along with nine tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Anthony Walker contributed 105 tackles (69 solo), nine tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. Jabaal Sheard (50 tackles, 11 tackles for loss), Denico Autry (37 tackles, five tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, fumble recovery) and Matthew Adams (33 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, fumble recovery) each have made their share of plays in the front seven for Indianapolis this season.

Who Has the Edge?

Kansas City doesn’t commit overly hard to the run and that could prove to be a problem. Indianapolis has been very effective against opposing ground games in the second half of the season and they shut down the Texans’ running backs in the wild card game. The Colts held the trio of Lamar Miller, Alfred Blue and D’Onta Foreman to eight carries totaling 29 yards. Kansas City likes to throw the ball early and often so this one isn’t a major factor. With Indianapolis stopping the run down the stretch, it’s best to call this one a wash as the Chiefs simply don’t rely on the ground game enough for it to be a major factor.

Advantage: Push

Who Has the Upper Hand in the Passing Attack?

Kansas City Chiefs Passing Offense

and a detriment to opposing defenses. The Chiefs have broken the 300 yard mark through the air 11 times this season. In one of the games that Kansas City fell short of the mark, the team threw for 295 yards. The Chiefs haven’t thrown for fewer than 243 yards in a game this season. In the final quarter of the regular season, Kansas City averaged 300.8 yards per game through the air with nine touchdowns and two interceptions while allowing six sacks.

Patrick Mahomes is 383 of 580 passing for 5,097 yards with 50 touchdowns against 12 interceptions while getting sacked 26 times for a total of 171 yards. He is second on the team with 272 rushing yards and two scores. Chad Henne is two of three for 29 yards. Mahomes has a trio of talented targets that he works the ball to so far this season. Pro Bowl TE Travis Kelce leads the team with 103 grabs for 1,336 yards plus 10 scores. Meanwhile, receivers Sammy Watkins (40 receptions, 519 yards, three TD) and big play machine Tyreek Hill (87 grabs, team high 1479 yards, 12 TD) are major threats on the outside. Watkins missed the last six games of the season with a foot injury but is expected to return here. If he misses the game or is limited, Chris Conley ((32 receptions, 334 yards, five TD) would likely see an uptick in targets. Kansas City has racked up 76 pass plays of at least 20 yards this season. Hill (27 receptions of at least 20 yards) and Kelce (18) are the major targets when the Chiefs hit big plays.

Indianapolis Colts Passing Defense

Indianapolis has been in the middle of the pack when it comes to pass defense this season. The Colts battled through a slew of injuries to key personnel in the secondary and seemed to be rotating bodies on a regular basis as a result. Indianapolis managed to allow only four teams to throw for more than 300 yards in a game against them this season. The Colts held five of their last seven opponents to 206 yards or less through the air this season. Over the final month of the season, Indianapolis allowed 236.8 yards per game through the air with three touchdown passes, four picks and eight sacks.

Denico Autry (pass defense) leads the team with nine sacks while Darius Leonard (eight pass defenses) is right behind him with seven. Jabaal Sheard (four pass defenses) adds 5.5 sacks while Margus Hunt (30 tackles, eight tackles for loss, two pass defenses, forced fumble, fumble recovery) contributes five sacks. Kenny Moore II (77 tackles, three tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, forced fumble, 11 pass defenses) leads the team with three picks. Malik Hooker (44 tackles, four pass defenses, fumble recovery) and Leonard each have two interceptions. Matthias Farley (19 tackles, four pass defenses, forced fumble), Anthony Walker (sack, four pass defenses), Pierre Desir (79 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, eight pass defenses, two forced fumbles, fumble recovery), Mike Mitchell (28 tackles, tackle for loss, two forced fumbles), Quincy Wilson (28 tackles, two pass defenses, fumble recovery), Najee Goode (15 tackles, pass defense), Corey Moore (12 tackles, pass defense) and George Odum (36 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, two pass defenses) each have one. As a team, the Colts recorded 60 pass defenses, 15 interceptions and 38 sacks on the year.

Who Has the Edge?

As well as the Colts have defended the pass this season, they’re in for arguably their stiffest challenge of the season. If Watkins returns as expected, the Chiefs have their dangerous trio of weapons to work with in the passing game. Indianapolis doesn’t have a ferocious pass rush and they were the second worst team in the league in completion percentage against. That gives you a little bit of pause, especially with as much as the Chiefs like to throw. Kansas City gets the nod here.

Advantage: Kansas City Chiefs

Special Teams, Coaching, & Intangibles

Special Teams

Indianapolis Colts

Adam Vinatieri is 44 of 47 on extra points and 23 of 27 field goals with a long of 54. He became the league’s all-time leading scorer and the league’s all-time leader in made field goals this season. Zach Pascal has done the majority of the work in the kickoff return game, averaging 21.2 yards per return on 14 runbacks. As a team, the Colts average 19.8 yards per attempt on 17 returns with a long of 29. Chester Rogers handles the punt return duties, averaging nine yards per return on 23 runbacks with a long of 51.

Rigoberto Sanchez finished the regular season eighth in the league with a 46.1 yard gross punting average. He was third in the league with a 44.5 yard net average and placed 24 punts inside the opponents’ 20 yard line while recording just five touchbacks. Indianapolis is good in kick coverage: they allowed a 22 yard average on 27 kick returns with a long of 41. On punt coverage, the Colts allowed just a 4.4 yard average with a long of 15 this season. Denico Autry has a pair of kick blocks to his credit this season. Football Outsiders has Indianapolis ranked as the 12th best special teams unit in the league.

Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City has been pretty solid in the special teams department this season. Kicker Harrison Butker has drilled 65 of 69 extra point attempts and 24 of his 27 field goal tries with a long of 54 on the season. Tremon Smith has handled the majority of the kick returns this season, averaging 26.8 yards per return on 33 runbacks with a long of 97. As a team, the Chiefs average 24.4 yards per kick return on 40 kick returns. Tyreek Hill has averaged 10.6 yards per return on 20 punt returns, including a 91 yard punt return for a score against the Chargers in week 1. As a team, the Chiefs average 11.9 yards per return on 22 punt returns this year.

The punt game has been decent for the Chiefs as Dustin Colquitt has averaged 44.9 yards per punt this season, which is 20th in the league. The net average for him is impressive as he has a 42.8 yard net average this season, putting him 9th in the league. Twenty-one of his 45 punts have been downed inside the 20 yard line. Kick coverage has been sound for the Chiefs: they allow 22.5 yards per return on 36 kickoff returns this season. Kansas City limits opposing teams to 5.7 yards on 17 punt returns this season with a long of 55. Football Outsiders has the Chiefs ranked as the second-best special teams unit in the league.

Who Has the Edge?

When you get down to it, there are things to like about both sides. Vinatieri is as clutch of a kicker as you’ll find in the league and he has the Super Bowl rings to back it up. Sanchez has been terrific in the punting game as well, helping to flip field position. On the other side of the equation, the Chiefs have one of the most dynamic return games in the league on both punts and kickoffs. Indianapolis is going to be sorely tested in that department. It’s hard to argue with the production the Chiefs get from special teams: give a slight edge to Kansas City here.

Advantage: Kansas City Chiefs

Coaching

Indianapolis Colts

This is Frank Reich’s rookie season as a head coach in the NFL and, all things considered, it’s worked out pretty well. The Colts started 1-5 but won nine of their last 10 regular season games to get to 10-6 on the year. Indianapolis then continued that momentum with their wild card win on the road over Houston. Prior to being a head coach, Reich was the offensive coordinator of the Chargers in 2014 and 2015 before going to Philadelphia. He was the offensive coordinator of the Eagles in 2016 and 2017, picking up a Super Bowl ring last season.

While Reich doesn’t have a ton of coaching experience, one can’t overlook that he was a player in the league and is known for a couple monumental comebacks. While at Maryland, Reich led the Terrapins back from a 31-0 halftime deficit to stun Miami (FL) 42-40 down in the Orange Bowl on November 10, 1984. In the NFL, he’s best known for engineering the greatest comeback in NFL history as he rallied the Bills from a 35-3 deficit in the third quarter to stun the Oilers, 41-38, in overtime on January 3, 1993 in the wild card round. He won’t be intimidated by the stage.

Kansas City Chiefs

Andy Reid is no slouch as a head coach. This marks his 20th season as a head coach: he spent the first 14 years with Philadelphia and this is his sixth season in Kansas City. In his career, Reid has compiled a 195-124-1 record as a head coach. His teams have made the postseason 14 times and he has an 11-13 record in the postseason. Reid led the Eagles to Super Bowl XXXIX along with NFC Championship Game appearances in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2008. With Eric Bieniemy hitting all the right buttons on offense, the Chiefs are a force to be reckoned with each and every week.

Reid has gone 65-31 in his six seasons with the Chiefs. Kansas City has plenty of weapons to work with and with the experience that he brings to the table, it makes the Chiefs one of the best prepared teams in the league. Bieniemy is raising his stock with each big performance by the Kansas City offense while Bob Sutton runs the defense. The one knock on Reid is his playoff failures: he’s just 1-4 with the Chiefs in the postseason and twice has seen leads of at least 18 points evaporate.

Who Has the Edge?

Reid definitely has the experience factor as a head coach in this one as Reich is a rookie in that department. Of course, we’ve seen a lot of inexperienced coaches have success in the postseason in recent years: after all, Doug Pederson was just in his second year as a head coach last year when he won the Super Bowl. Reid’s experience is tempered by his way to seemingly find ways to lose playoff games. One has to think that is going to be on his mind, subconsciously or not. Reich has a Super Bowl ring, which Reid does not, and his big game experience negates his lack of a head coaching pedigree. This is a wash.

Advantage: Push

Intangibles

Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis comes into this contest 5th in the league in scoring offense as they put up 27.1 points per game this season. The Colts are 7th in total offense with 388.3 yards per contest and stand 10th in yards per play with an average of 5.8 yards a snap. Indianapolis is 10th in scoring defense as they allow 21.5 points per game. On the season, the team is 11th in total defense by allowing 338.4 yards per game and 11th in yards per play allowed as they give up 5.4 yards per play on average. Indianapolis is tied for 13th in the league in giveaway/takeaway with a +2 margin this season.

The Colts are 5th in the league in scoring touchdowns in the red zone as they cash in 69.12 percent of their chances. Defensively, Indianapolis has been above average as they are 11th in red zone defense by allowing 53.33 percent of drives to reach the red zone to end in touchdowns. The Colts are elite in third down conversions, ranking 1st by converting 49.56 percent of their third down situations. Indianapolis’s defense is 20th in those situations as they hold the opposition to a 39.91 percent success on their third downs. The Colts are 18th in the league in time of possession by holding the ball 49.71 percent of the time this season.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs are an offensive juggernaut this season as they lead the league with 35.3 points per contest. Kansas City is first in total offense as they average 425.6 yards per contest while ranking first in yards per play as they pick up 6.8 yards per snap. The Chiefs are just 28th in the league in scoring defense by allowing 27.1 points per contest. Kansas City is 31st in the league in total defense by allowing 405.5 yards per game and 24th in yards per play by allowing 5.9 yards per snap. In giveaway/takeaway, the Chiefs are 6th with a +9 ratio this season.

The Chiefs are among the league’s elite as they are ranked 2nd in the league in scoring touchdowns in the red zone as they cash in 71.83 percent of their chances. Defensively, Kansas City has struggled as they are 31st in red zone defense by allowing 72.41 percent of drives to reach the red zone to end in touchdowns. The Chiefs are near the top of the pack in third down conversions, ranking 2nd by converting 47.16 percent of their third down situations in addition to 12 of 15 fourth downs. Kansas City’s defense is 25th in those situations as they hold the opposition to 41.45 percent success on their third downs. The Chiefs are 27th in the league in time of possession by holding the ball 48.1 percent of the time this season.

Who Has the Edge?

This one is going to be a battle of which defense can get off the field on third down. The two teams are first and second in the league, respectively, in third down conversion percentage so the defense that can manage to make the stops is going to put their team in favorable situations. Both teams are excellent in the red zone and the Colts are better at stopping opposing teams from scoring TDs once reaching the red zone. Kansas City’s big edge comes in giveaway/takeaway. This one likely is a wash when all things are considered.

Advantage: Push

Final Outlook – Time to place those bets!

There is the potential for a ton of points with these two offensive attacks on the field. With that in mind, Indianapolis will be best served by remembering that limiting Kansas City’s possessions is in their best interest. The Colts saw how the Seahawks pounded away in week 16 with the ground game en route to a win. Kansas City’s run defense is porous to say the least and we saw the Colts run for 200 yards against Houston’s third-ranked run defense. With that in mind, you have to be expecting Indianapolis to rely on Mack quite a bit to set up the pass. Indianapolis is 7-1 ATS in their last eight trips to Kansas City. The Chiefs should prevail, especially at home, but this one is close all the way. If you’re playing the line, take the Colts.

The big thing in this one is whether Indianapolis commits to the run or not. We know the Chiefs can’t stop the run, so it makes sense. However, common sense doesn’t always prevail in the postseason: ask Reid. If the weather becomes a factor as is quite possible at this point in time, you have to be concerned about the offensive attack for both sides being impeded a little bit. Indianapolis has seen the under go 9-1 in their last 10 vs. a team with a winning record, 5-1 in their last six against the AFC and 9-2 in their last 11 after picking up at least 350 yards of offense. Kansas City has seen the under go 5-1 in their last six home playoff games. With the weather looming, this one has the potential of falling short of the number as well.

Updated on Jan 12 at 2:45pm EST

There aren’t many major surprises on the injury report for either team coming into this game. Indianapolis ruled WR Ryan Grant out on Friday, which merely opens up more opportunities for Zach Pascal, Dontrelle Inman and Chester Rogers. Defensive tackle Tyquan Lewis is also out with a knee injury. Safety Malik Hooker is questionable with a foot injury while Denico Autry is questionable with a shoulder issue. The last two are important as they are key defensive players. There isn’t a ton of depth in the secondary for the Colts.

For Kansas City, linebacker Dorian O’Daniel is doubtful with calf and ankle injuries but he isn’t a major player on the defensive side of things. One piece of good news for the Chiefs is that Sammy Watkins is expected to play after missing the last six games with a foot injury. He is questionable but reports have him taking the field. The news isn’t as good for former Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry or running back Spencer Ware. Berry continues to deal with a heel injury while Ware is going to test his hamstring in pregame warmups. Both are expected to not take the field in this one: Ware’s injury means Damien Williams gets another week as the feature back.

Game time temperatures are expected to be in the low 30s with winds right around 10 miles an hour from the north northeast. Kansas City was hit with snow Friday and into Saturday morning with the potential for flurries to come down during the contest. That could make for a slick field and could make footing tricky. Depending on where you live in the Kansas City area, reports of four to seven inches of snow were on the ground.

The opening line for this contest had the Chiefs favored by 4.5 points with the over/under set at 56. During the course of the week, we’ve seen the line bump up to 5.5 and settling now at Kansas City -4.5. The over/under bumped to 56.5 and then back to 56 before coming back down to where it stands now at 54.5 points. When the moneyline opened, the Chiefs were going off at -210 while the Colts were getting +190 odds. As the week has worn on, it has shifted to the Chiefs staying at -200 or -210 while Philadelphia is going at +170 or +180 depending on the sportsbook.

Currently, 59 percent of the bets on the moneyline are backing the Colts. When it comes to the point spread, 60 percent of the bets are backing Indianapolis +4.5 in an effort to cash in. As it stands, 51 percent of the bets, a narrow majority, are on this one going over the 54.5 point total set for the game.

Kansas City was much tougher defensively at home (18 points per game allowed) than they were on the road this season. The Chiefs weren’t as productive offensively though in a bit of a surprise. Kansas City scored 35 points or more just three times at home compared to six times on the road. The Colts aren’t intimidated being a road underdog as they won twice outright at Houston in that role this season. Indianapolis also beat Tennessee in week 17 in a win or go home contest so that mentality won’t get to them either. Kansas City finds a way to slip by into the AFC Championship Game and picks up their first home playoff win since Joe Montana was quarterback, but the Colts cover the line. Think about that for a minute…Joe Montana was the last QB to get a home playoff win for the Chiefs back on January 8, 1994.

Indianapolis Colts 24, Kansas City Chiefs 28

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Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.

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#641 Stanford 138
#642 Washington -10
9:00pm
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#643 Oregon 130
#644 Arizona -4.5
9:00pm
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#645 San Francisco -6.5
#646 Pacific 138
9:00pm
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#647 Hawaii 148
#648 Cal State Northridge -2
10:00pm
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#649 California
#650 Washington State
10:00pm
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#651 Oregon State 141
#652 Arizona State -5.5
10:00pm
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#653 San Diego -10
#654 Portland 134
10:00pm
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#657 UCSB -3
#658 UC Davis 131.5
10:00pm
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#659 Santa Clara
#660 St Marys
11:00pm
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#661 BYU -2.5
#662 Pepperdine 163
11:00pm
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NHL
#31 New Jersey 6
#32 N.Y. Islanders -150
7:05pm
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#33 St. Louis 5.5
#34 Boston -175
7:05pm
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#41 Anaheim 5.5
#42 Minnesota -180
8:05pm
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#43 Los Angeles 5.5
#44 Dallas -175
8:35pm
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Saturday, Jan 19
NCAAB
#629 James Madison
#630 Drexel
2:00pm
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Sunday, Jan 20
NFL
#311 Los Angeles Rams 56.5
#312 New Orleans Saints -3.5
3:05pm
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#313 New England Patriots 58
#314 Kansas City Chiefs -3
6:40pm
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