October will be a prime-time month for the Chiefs.
They play three nationally televised games in October, starting with Sunday’s game against the Colts at Arrowhead Stadium.
It’s a rematch of the playoff game in January, but the Colts obviously have made some big changes over the last eight months ago.
Each week, I take an early look at the Chiefs’ next opponent, and here are five things to know about the Colts, 2-2, ahead of Sunday’s game, which kicks off at 7:20 p.m. and will be broadcast on NBC (Ch. 41):
1. No Luck needed?
More than a few people wrote off the Colts when quarterback Andrew Luck retired during the preseason. However, Jacoby Brissett has shown quite a bit of improvement from the 2017 season when he started 15 games after a Luck injury.
Brissett has completed 65.2 percent of his passes (90 of 138) for 911 yards with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions. Brissett’s quarterback rating is 102.1, which is better than Luck had in any season.
The Colts have done a great job of protecting Brissett, who has been sacked just six times. Heading into Sunday’s game, he often had a clean pocket:
Unfortunately for the Colts, one of Brissett’s interceptions was a pick-six in Sunday’s loss to Oakland:
2. Running well
The Chiefs’ rush defense hasn’t inspired confidence in the last couple of weeks, as the Lions ran for 186 yards on Sunday, and a week earlier the Ravens piled up 203 rushing yards.
Indianapolis ranks seventh in the NFL in rushing, averaging 132.5 yards per game. The Colts’ main back is Marlon Mack, who is averaging 4.7 yards per attempt (338 yards in 72 carries) with a pair of touchdowns.
Mack shredded the Chargers defense in the season opener with this touchdown:
One other note on the Colts offense: the unit has converted 25 of 51 third-down attempts.
3. Hilton’s injury
Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton missed Sunday’s game because of a quadriceps injury, which he re-aggravated during a victory over the Falcons a week earlier.
Hilton is the Colts’ leading receiver (20 catches for 195 and four touchdowns). With Hilton out, Zach Pascal was Brissett’s top target on Sunday, and Pascal had four catches for 72 yards.
Tight end Eric Ebron is another big target. Ebron is second on the team with 128 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns, including this one Sunday:
Running back Nayheim Hines is second in receptions this season for the Colts with 14.
4. Defensive numbers
The Colts haven’t been great against the run, allowing 132.5 yards per game, which ranks 24th in the NFL. They are 13th in passing defense (230.5 yards per game).
Defensive tackle Denico Autry has a team-best 2 1/2 sacks for Indy. All told, Indianapolis has nine sacks on the season, and the rushers will set their sights on Patrick Mahomes.
5. Still kicking
Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri is showing his age, which isn’t as bad as it sounds. Vinatieri is 46 years old, and he’s having the worst season of his career. Vinatieri has made just 4 of 7 field-goal attempts and he’s missed three of his 11 extra-point attempts.