One Minute Preview (AFC Divisional Edition): Indianapolis Colts
Will the Chiefs’ “curse” end Saturday?
People who cover the NFL apparently believe the Chiefs will beat the Colts and break that six-game home playoff losing streak in Saturday’s AFC divisional playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium.
I surveyed 56 NFL experts and found that 43 believe the Chiefs will prevail in the game, which is at Arrowhead Stadium, kicks off at 3:35 p.m. and will be broadcast on NBC (Ch. 41).
Here is who those experts are picking and what they wrote about the game:
Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com thinks the Chiefs will win 34-29. This is an excerpt of what he wrote: “Since Week 7, Indianapolis has allowed less than 15.5 points per game, but to whom? Not one of the Colts’ opponents since their bye boasted a threatening, multi-dimensional attack even close to resembling that of Kansas City’s. (Dallas, perhaps, but barely.) The Chiefs, meanwhile, are battle-tested, losing two of three to playoff defenses (BAL, LAC, SEA) by a margin of five points in December. Some clubs have the ability through skill and will to disregard superstition and the gravity of history. This Chiefs team, young and weightless, loose and free, is one of them.”
Benjamin Hoffman of the New York Times picked a Chiefs victory. He wrote in part: “There are paths to victory for both teams, but the most likely result is a win by the Chiefs. That’s hardly an insult to the Colts, a balanced team that has been fun to watch but that has the misfortune of being the first team to face Mahomes in the playoffs.”
Elliot Harrison of NFL.com believes the Chiefs will prevail 30-22. Here is an snippet of what he wrote: “Can the Chiefs’ pass rushers get to Andrew Luck? That might determine the outcome of this football game. Unless, of course, Patrick Mahomes continues his Tecmo Super Bowl tear through the league. The dude is shredding defenses in a Marty Friedman Megadeth manner, having joined Peyton Manning in the ultra-exclusive 50-touchdown/5,000-yard club (a development that’ll probably foreclose the dream of Drew Brees winning a late-stage MVP).”
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio and Michael David Smith both forecast a Chiefs victory. Florio, who sees a 30-27 win, wrote: “The problem, as evidenced by various big games lost by the Chiefs this year, is the defense. Can they keep Indy’s offense from not outscoring Patrick Mahomes? That’s where the game will be won or lost. This one could go either way, but I’ll say it will be won by the Chiefs, barely.”
Smith, who predicted a 28-21 victory, wrote: “If this were in Indianapolis I’d take the Colts to win this game with their stout defense and balanced offense, but I just can’t pick against the Chiefs in Kansas City.”
Three of the six SB Nation writers went with the Chiefs: Stephen White, Charles McDonald and Geoff Schwartz. Indianapolis was the choice for Adam Stites, Ryan Van Bibber and Christian D’Andrea. Van Bibber wrote in part: “The Chiefs are always ripe for an upset in the playoffs. Last year’s loss at Arrowhead Stadium to the Titans wasn’t even their most memorable postseason choke job. The worst one since the Marty Ball era in Kansas City happened in January 2014, when the Chiefs blew a 28-point lead. And guess who they lost to in that one? That’s right, Andrew Luck and the Colts. This is a better Kansas City team than that one, but you can say the same thing about the Colts. This time the Colts have the kind of defense that can really put the brakes on Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense.”
Six of the eight CBS Sports writers predicted the Chiefs would win: Jared Dubin, Ryan Wilson, Will Brinson, David Richard, Jamey Eisenberg and Pete Prisco. The two picks for the Colts came from John Breech and Jason La Canfora. Prisco predicted a 33-31 Chiefs victory. Here is part of what he wrote: “Playing behind an outstanding offensive line, Luck has the Colts offense clicking. That will be a problem for a bad Chiefs defense.”
Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News picked a 38-34 Chiefs win. Here is part of what he wrote: “Mahomes will see big plays open up because of good protection and his ability to extend plays outside the pocket. This feels like a ‘last possession wins’ game, and Mahomes will begin his playoff legend with a successful game-winning drive.”
Todd Haislop of the Sporting News thinks the Chiefs will win 35-24. He wrote: “Indianapolis’ young defense has not seen an offense quite like the one it will see in Kansas City. Technically nobody has, as the Chiefs boast the NFL’s No. 1 offense with 35.3 points per game in the regular season. If Mahomes plays up to his potential, or close to it, the Colts can’t stop him.”
Mike Wells of ESPN predicted a 34-30 Chiefs win. An excerpt of his reasoning: “The opportunity to run the ball will be there for the Colts, as the Chiefs were 31st in the league (5.0 yards allowed per carry), which would keep Mahomes on the sideline. It wouldn’t be shocking if the Colts won, but the Chiefs get the slight edge because they’re playing at home.”
ESPN’s Adam Teicher called it 31-27 in favor of the Chiefs. Here’s a bit of what he wrote: “Few road teams have been able to run up the score against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, where the home team allowed 18 points per game this season (sixth best in the NFL).”
ESPN’s nine other experts all think the Chiefs will win: Mina Kimes, Louis Riddick, Seth Wickersham, Mike Golic, Trey Wingo, Kevin Seifert, Mike Clay, Matt Bowen and Dan Graziano.
Half of USA Today’s six writers picked the Chiefs: Jori Epstein (34-31 final score), Mike Middlehurst-Schwartz (38-35) and Lorenzo Reyes (32-27). The Colts were the pick by Mike Jones (also 32-27), Jarrett Bell (34-31) and Nate Davis (24-23).
Six of the seven Sports Illustrated Monday Morning Quarterback writers believe the Chiefs will prevail: Albert Breer, Mitch Goldich, Jonathan Jones, Bette Marston, Andrew Brandt and Jenny Vrentas. The lone person to pick Indianapolis: Mark Mravic.
Seven of the eight Pro Focus Football writers predicted a Chiefs victory: Neil Hornsby, Steve Palazzolo, Mike Renner, Zac Robinson, Jeff Ratcliffe, Gordon McGuinness and Nathan Jahnke. The lone pick for the Colts: Sam Monson.
Three NFL Network analysts picked the Colts: