Breakout Live breaks down the pluses and minuses of the Colts and Chiefs heading into their showdown in the divisional playoff round.
+ Nobody is hotter in the remaining field of 8 teams, as the Colts canter into Kansas City winners of 9 of their last 10 games. Marlon Mack literally put the Colts on his back in Houston, carrying it more than Andrew Luck threw it and setting a Colts single game playoff rushing record in the process against a Texans defense giving up the fewest YPC in the league. Mack has posted 100-yard-plus rushing games in every game he’s carried it at least 20 times, and this Saturday in Arrowhead he sees a Chiefs defense that’s one of two defenses in the NFL that gives up 5 or more YPC. The Colts are loose and playing with house money under a rejuvenated Andrew Luck who has a tantalizing matchup with the Chiefs moribund 31st ranked defense.
– The Colts are a dome team that batted .500 on the road in the regular season. Indy beat just one team with a winning record away from Lucas Oil Stadium and that was the Texans, twice, and Houston plays under the cover of NRG Stadium. Meanwhile, the Colts lost in the elements to the woeful Jets and were shut out by the underachieving Jags in sunny Jacksonville. If Indy’s defense was shredded by a washed-up Eli Manning (who passed for over 300 yards on 25-33 in Week 16 minus OBJ), it’s hard to believe their middle-of-the-pack pass defense stands much of a chance against the league’s probable MVP in Pat Mahomes on the road in Arrowhead.
Kansas City Chiefs
+ The 1-seeded Chiefs play their best at home at Arrowhead, going 7-1 in front of the Chiefs faithful while averaging over 32 points per game. Travis Kelce, the Chiefs most targeted weapon in the passing game, figures to crush the Colts back end as nobody gives up more yards to the tight end position than the Indianapolis Colts. Since the Chiefs discovered they still have a ground game minus Kareem Hunt, Damien Williams averaged nearly 6 YPC over the last 3 contests to close out the regular season. No game has been too big, or defense too stout for the soon-to-be-named league MVP Patrick Mahomes, and the Colts defense doesn’t exactly resemble the ‘85 Bears. The Chiefs defense tied for the league lead in sacks with 52, so Andrew Luck may find tough sledding on Saturday.
– Kansas City conjures images of the old Air Coryell Chargers who devastated the league with their offense and devastated their fans with their defense. The Chiefs bring an abhorrent 31st ranked defense to meet the suddenly playoff darling Colts. In KC’s last legitimate tune-up before the playoffs, they were torched on the road in Seattle by Russell Wilson who put 38 on them while Chris Carson ran wild, and now the hot Marlon Mack blows into Arrowhead. The Chiefs can’t stop opposing tight ends, giving up the 2nd most touchdowns to the position, and the Colts feature the top touchdown maker in the game in Eric Ebron. The Chiefs wear the mantle of the top seed and all the pressure that comes with it. Andy Reid’s teams are just 11-13 in the playoffs and face a team that wasn’t supposed to be here and who should feel pressure free.