Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts: 5 Reasons Why KC Will Win Wild Card Matchup
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts: 5 Reasons Why KC Will Win
When the Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts met at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 16, Indy left town with a comfortable 23-7 victory. The Chiefs put out their ugliest performance of the season, especially on offense.
Alex Smith and the passing attack laid an egg with just 153 yards, an interception, and no touchdowns. Four turnovers didn’t make things easy for the Kansas City defense, but they didn’t make things easy on themselves either with poor tackling and no takeaways for just the second time this season.
As with many games this year, the officiating was terrible. But even without a couple of gifts from the refs the Colts would have won handily. They fought harder, played smarter, and protected the ball. Indy didn’t have a spectacular game, but they played decent which was more than enough to top a sad performance from the Chiefs. The Colts were the better team that day, but they are not the better team in general.
Considering that Indianapolis finished the season winning three-straight games and Kansas City finished losing five of seven, it's tough to sell the Chiefs as the favorite this weekend. The fact that they’re playing in Indianapolis two weeks after the Colts earned a comfortable win at Arrowhead doesn’t help their case either.
A broad view of the situation doesn’t look good for the Chiefs, but upon a closer examination there are several reasons to believe in them. Indy is 3-0 all-time against the Chiefs in the postseason, but on Saturday, expect Kansas City to get some revenge and earn their first playoff victory since the 1993 season. Here are five reasons to believe that will happen.
5. The Return of Justin Houston and Branden Albert
Kansas City will have two of their 2014 Pro Bowl selections return against Indy after missing their Week 16 matchup. LT Branden Albert should provide a nice boost for the offensive line, and LB Justin Houston should help put more pressure on Andrew Luck who was sacked just once in their last meeting.
4. The Turnover Battle
The Chiefs' offense was stalled in their first meeting largely because they lost the turnover battle 4-0. Kansas City fumbled the ball six times -- losing three of them -- and threw an interception without getting a single takeaway on defense. This was extremely out of character for the Chiefs who are still second in the league in turnover margin even after that performance. The odds of Kansas City handing the Colts the ball that often again are slim to none.
3. The Chiefs Are Well Rested
In a way, losing to the Colts was beneficial to the Chiefs who would have otherwise been trying to rundown the Denver Broncos in the AFC West in a futile effort. The loss locked them in the No. 5 seed, and allowed them to rest all their starters against the San Diego Chargers in Week 17, including a few who were nursing injuries. Andy Reid has been in a position to rest his starters for the playoffs four times in his career, and his teams won three of those games.
2. Indy is Beatable at Home and KC is Solid on the Road
Kansas City has a better record on the road than at home this season. Their only losses were at Denver and at San Diego, in overtime, with their backups playing the entire game. The Colts have lost twice at home — once to the Miami Dolphins and once in a blowout to the St. Louis Rams. Outside of their wins against the 2-14 Houston Texans and 4-12 Jacksonville Jaguars, Indy’s other four wins at home were all by six points or less.
1. It’s a Different Game
It sounds silly to spell this out, but just because the same two teams are playing in a game doesn’t mean it will have the same outcome. You can’t look at Indy and KC’s last contest and expect for that to happen again. The path an NFL game will take is impossible to predict, and a previous matchup between teams is nothing more than anecdotal evidence. In Saturday’s matchup, both teams are going to succeed in areas where they failed last time and fail in areas where they succeeded.