Steve Ovenden (@happyhappysteve) believes the rematch of last season’s divisional round may end in the same way with a Chiefs win
Its Sunday Night Football for the Indianapolis Colts as they travel to Arrowhead Stadium to play the Kansas City Chiefs. This will be a big test for the Colts as they seek redemption after last seasons Divisional Round playoff loss.
Week four was by no means an easy outing for either team. The Colts went down 31 – 24 to the Raiders whilst the Chiefs had a come from behind road victory over the Detroit Lions. It took them until their final drive of the game (13 plays, 79 yards) to secure the victory and take the game 34 – 30. The Colts however conceded two first quarter touchdowns and Brissett was intercepted in the fourth quarter for a touchdown, so the game was always just out of reach for them.
Good news out of Colts training camp this week as T.Y Hilton has returned to limited practices after missing week 4 with a quad injury. If he improves by the weekend we could see a little involvement by the receiver. Whatever the involvement T.Y has, emphasis will still be put on other areas of the team. Tight Ends Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle could see a lot of the ball on receiving plays as an alternative to the lack of wide out options that face the Colts.
Again, like week 4, the run game will be important but with Marlon Mack missing practice with an ankle injury it will be a chance for running backs Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins to step up. These two will likely share reps throughout the game as well as with Mack depending on how fit he actually is. A big game is needed from the offence as Kansas are quite vulnerable defensively. Surprisingly, Kansas are sitting 31st in the league against the run and do not fair much better against the pass. Frank Reich and his coaching staff will be looking to exploit one of these areas Sunday night.
Kansas isn’t really recognised at this point in time for its defence, its the other side of the ball which hails the plaudits. Players like Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce are fast becoming household names in the NFL. Man of the moment Mahomes has times where he is simply unplayable and last weeks final drive against the Lions showed what the quarterback was made of physically and mentally. Throwing and running, putting himself on the line for his team, it all showed how good a leader he is.
Tight End Travis Kelce is another strong player. It takes a lot to stop him and his versatility adds to the threat. He is a great pass option as well and is a clever player, again an example came in Detroit when after a reception and getting tackled, still had the awareness and quick thinking to lateral to McCoy so they could gain a first down.
These players backed up by a strong offensive line and quality in receivers like Robinson, Watkins and Hill (when fit) and backs like LeSean ‘Shady’ McCoy and Darrel Williams mean they are a very formidable team. Its against this where the Colts could become unstuck big time. Old Indy habits like defending against the run reared its ugly head again last week and were punished for it. This and third downs allowed are probably the most common issues on the defensive side of the ball for the Colts and could again get severely punished by Kansas for it.
At the end of the day, no team is unbeatable but this week the Colts are really going to need to bring an ‘A’ game on the road with them. Its games like this that they could of really done with some ‘luck’.
Last Time They Met
AFC Divisional Round (Playoffs) January 2019 @ Arrowhead Stadium
Kansas City Chiefs 31 – 13 Indianapolis Colts
Players To Watch
Chiefs – Travis Kelce
The versatile Tight End will prove a handful for the Colts defence on Sunday night.
Colts – Nyheim Hines
The Running Back will see a lot more game time this week if Marlon Mack isn’t fully fit. This will be a good opportunity for him to prove himself against one of the leagues best.
Kansas City Chiefs 34 – 20 Indianapolis Colts