Colts vs Chiefs: The Recipe for a Colts Win
The Chiefs are the clear favorites in this week’s AFC Divisional match up against the Colts. Led by budding superstar and likely league MVP, Patrick Mahomes, the Colts will have their hands full on Saturday trying to contain their potent passing attack.
The Colts play a bend but don’t break, Tampa 2, type of defense which is designed to prevent big plays over the top. This along with controlling the ball are the way the Colts will pull off the upset.
The Chiefs lead the league in explosive pass plays with 63, according to Sharp Football Stats. However, the Colts are the fifth best team against explosive pass plays. Can the Colts make Mahomes move the ball down the field methodically? That is going to be a huge factor in this game. The Colts have done a pretty poor job against Tight Ends between the twenties, giving up more yards to tight ends than any other team this year, however, they have only allowed tight ends to score 5 touchdowns this year; again, bend but don’t break. Travis Kelce is the best tight end in the game, so that will be another thing to keep an eye on.
These things are going to be important for the Colts to win, however, the most important piece to the puzzle will be keeping Mahomes and that offense off the field. That will be a huge task for Rookie All Pro linebacker, Darius Leonard and company. In the Chiefs four losses this year, they lost the time of possession in every single one of them, and in three of the four games, they lost by more than six minutes. The Colts are ranked ninth in rushing since their 1-5 start, according to Pro Football Reference. They have also led the league in third down conversions this year. If they can continue to extend drives and run the ball effectively, they very well may find themselves playing to get to the Super Bowl next weekend.
Let’s take a moment to recognize that we haven’t even talked about Andrew Luck yet. The likely Comeback Player of the Year is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and had it not been for the breakout year by Mahomes, we would be talking about his 2018 campaign as an MVP one. With the time that the offensive line, led by another Rookie All Pro, Quenton Nelson, Luck should have plenty of time to find his weapons, even with T.Y. Hilton at less than 100%.
Another developing situation is the weather in Kansas City on Saturday. The rain is supposed to start on Friday and begin snowing into Saturday. The big plays are going to be harder to complete if the weather is as nasty as they are projecting. This will play into the control the ball mentality that the Colts will surely take advantage of with Marlon Mack, who has been one of the best backs in the league this year. He missed four games and still managed to rack up over one thousand yards from scrimmage.
Despite the Colts being a five-and-a-half-point underdog, I think they are going to win this game. They are playing the most complete football out of every team left in the playoffs. During this streak of winning ten out of the last eleven, they have shown that they can win in multiple ways. They have won games by running the ball, they have won by passing, they have won with defense when the offense couldn’t get going. They are going to be able to move the ball on the Chiefs and I think they will be able to force Mahomes into being a little impatient and force him into a few mistakes.