The Indianapolis Colts prevented their season from collapsing thanks to a 34-26 win over the Tennessee Titans. They face a much stiffer challenge this weekend against the 4-2 Kansas City Chiefs.
The Colts improved to 3-4 on the season with the win. However, they needed another late-game drive to seal their victory. For the third straight game, Indianapolis lost a fourth quarter lead and forced Andrew Luck to rescue the franchise.
Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs are riding high right now. After getting dismantled by the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4, the Chiefs have reeled off two straight wins. They have a good shot to extend their win streak to three Sunday.
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These two team do not play each other very often even though both sides reside in the AFC. The 2014 AFC Wild Card game was the time these two teams met. The Colts overcame a 28-point deficit in the second half to beat the Chiefs 45-44.
It does not seem very likely there will be a duplicate result this Sunday. The Chiefs are one of the top 10 teams in the league. Meanwhile, the Colts are in the bottom half of the league and have more questions about them than answers.
Statistically, the Chiefs are average in most of the major offensive and defensive categories, but they are second in the NFL in takeaways with 14, and they allow 20.5 points per game (tied-11th in NFL). Their defense shuts opponents down and their offense does just enough to win.
The Chiefs offense is run by Alex Smith who is averaging 252 passing yards per game and has thrown seven touchdowns this season. At the same time, running back Spencer Ware has 492 rushing yards and helps the team control time of possession by averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
On the flip side, the Colts are solely reliant on Andrew Luck. He ranks in the top 5 or top 10 of most passing categories despite being the most sacked quarterback in the NFL this year (25). Unfortunately, Luck’s success is often overshadowed by the team’s defensive deficiencies.
The Colts’ defense is one of the worst in the league; both statistically and visually. It has surrendered a fourth quarter lead in five of the seven games this season. Most notably, they blew a 14-point lead with 5:17 left in the game against the Houston Texans in Week 6.
The gameplan for the Colts will rely heavily on ball control. They need to stay on the field and keep the Chiefs off of it. They need to convert third downs and avoid costly penalties, which have plagued a lot this season.
Luck needs T.Y. Hilton and Frank Gore to continue their run of good play if they want to win this contest. Hilton will be facing off against one of the NFL’s top cornerbacks in Marcus Peters often. Gore needs to at least reach 80 rushing yards in order to keep Kansas City honest.
The Chiefs have a lot of ways to attack the Colts’ susceptible defense. More than likely, they will choose to attack the Colts on the ground. Indianapolis has allowed 830 rushing yards and 4.7 yards per carry this season.
If the Chiefs decide to pass the ball more instead, they will be also be successful. As long as Smith does not turn the ball over, he should be able to march the Chiefs down the field with ease.
The Colts need a lot of things to go their way if they want to pull off this upset because the Chiefs are the better football team. Shockingly though, Kansas City is only a three-point favorite right now.
Indianapolis has a knack for making games close in the end, and it will probably happen again. However, a late-game mistake will end up costing them in the end.
Prediction: Chiefs 31, Colts 27