Will the Colts keep rolling? Will the Chiefs finally break their playoff hex? Breakout Live predicts the divisional playoff matchup between the Colts and Chiefs.
Colts @ Chiefs
The holidays are all about overindulgence, and man did I consume a big, fat plate of crow last weekend after the Colts beat the Texans. That’s what I get for putting too much focus on one player (Hopkins – who, if we’re being real, wasn’t close to 100%) in a team sport. Well, the Colts certainly are the epitome of “team” football. I watch a lot of football (my wife might say too much), but I defy any NFL fan to name more than 5 dudes on Indy’s defense. Impossible. Credit where credit is due, though: those no-names balled out, they played together, and they forced Deshaun Watson to do everything he didn’t want to do. When the dust settled, Captain Luck and his cavalry had taken the hill in Houston and planted their horseshoe flag squarely on top of it.
Now it’s on to Arrowhead, the Fort Sumter of the AFC – a place that truly is its own island among NFL stadiums. It’s loud, intimidating, and the fans are nuts about their Chiefs, almost as if there’s nothing better to do in Northwest Missouri. Believe me, I know the knocks on KC: they can’t stop the pass (31st) or the run (26th). Andy Reid can’t win in the postseason (11-13 overall with 5 one-and-dones). Patrick Mahomes is great, but he’s never been tested. But I also know that Mahomes is the NFL MVP, the Chiefs have the best offense in the NFL, and Big Andy is 17-3 after a bye week in his career.
There are two battlefields that will decide this one: Indy’s O-line vs. KC’s D-line, and Tyreek Hill vs. the Colts’ secondary. Indy’s big fellas have been incredible in 2018, allowing the fewest sacks in the league. But KC led the NFL with 52 sacks this season and they pressure the QB more often than anyone. And as much as I respect Andrew Luck, he hasn’t been great against pressure this year: 47.2% comp, 9/7 TD-INT, 33 QBR. If the Chiefs can generate pressure with Dee Ford and 15.5-sack man Chris Jones (which I think they will), it could be a long day for Luck. I also think – despite the forecast calling for snow flurries throughout – Tyreek is going to run roughshod on the Colts’ secondary. Safety Mike Mitchell is done for the year, and while he was only playing limited snaps recently, you can’t discount the impact he had on that young defense. His replacement, Clayton Geathers, is still working his way back from a neck injury, and Indy’s other Safety Malik Hooker has been in a walking boot all week. I have to believe Andy Reid still has some tricks up his sleeve to show a very good, but very inexperienced defense.
A lot of people (including some of my Breakout Live colleagues) think Indy is the team best positioned to pull off an upset in the Divisional round. There’s been so much talk of the Colts this week, in fact, that it almost feels like the Chiefs are the underdog here. No biggie. The Chiefs have too much talent and Andy Reid has too much riding on this game to go down in a blaze of glory once again. And I better be right, because I’m at max capacity on crow.
Prediction: Chiefs, 28-27