Wild-Card weekend is here and it’s one of the best weekends of the NFL season. Football fans get to sleep in and watch football all day Saturday and Sunday. Let’s take a look at some of the key factors and who has the edge in the Chiefs at Colts match-up.
Chiefs Year in Review
Both the Colts and the Chiefs have had their ups and downs this year. The Chiefs were the last undefeated team in the NFL as they raced off to a surprising 9 – 0 start. They were led by Jamaal Charls and their stellar defense early in the year but they came down to earth after they got hit with the injury bug and played a few quality opponents. After their impressive 9 – 0 start, the Chiefs finished the year 2 – 5 in their last seven games including a 23 – 7 loss at home to the Colts in Week 16.
Colts Year in Review
The Colts have had probably the most up and down season of any playoff team. The Colts seem to play up or down to their competition beating arguably the best three teams in the NFL (Denver, Seattle and San Francisco) but losing at home to Miami and St. Louis.
Many experts gave the Colts a slim chance to make a run in the playoffs once Reggie Wayne was lost for the year but the Colts have finished the year strong surrendering just 20 points combined in their last three games.
Who has the edge?
All signs point towards Indy winning this game. No matter what way you slice it, Indy appears to have the edge. For starters, they are playing at home. When two teams are evenly matched, odds strongly suggest taking the home team. At full strength these teams are evenly matched but the Chiefs are far from playing at full strength with Tamba Hali (questionable, knee) and Justin Houston (probable, elbow) nowhere near 100 percent.
With the Chiefs two best pass rushers likely being ineffective, it could be a long day for the Chiefs secondary that relies heavily on man coverage. The Chiefs have also struggled stopping the run all year and with injuries and match-ups considered, the Colts offense has an edge over the Chiefs defense.
When looking at the Chiefs offense against the Colts defense, there is only one thing to discuss and that’s whether or not the Colts can slow down Jamaal Charls. The Chiefs don’t take deep shots down the field and they don’t have any offensive weapons to speak of not named Jamaal Charls. Charls led the Chiefs in rushing attempts, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. He might need back surgery after carrying the Chiefs offense on his back the entire season.
If the Colts can somewhat slow down Charls and get an early lead, they can let their pass rushers get to work and force Alex Smith to beat them with his arm on the road in a hostile environment. With only one weapon to prepare for, the Colds defense should have the edge over the Chiefs offense.
It should be a great game but with Indy playing their last game of the year at Lucas Oil Stadium, it will be hard for the Chiefs to overcome Indy’s electric crowd and deny Andrew Luck of his first playoff win. If the Colts can eliminate turnovers on offense and create a few on defense, they will likely be taking on the Patriots or Broncos next weekend.