The Indianapolis Colts made it into the postseason as a wild card team, and they went out and dominated their divisional rivals, the Houston Texans, in impressive fashion. Now the Colts will have an even tougher task: slowing down Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round. They’re set to play on Saturday, beginning at 4:35 p.m. ET on NBC (live streaming via FuboTV, NBC Sports).
Playing the Texans for the third time this season after splitting the first two, Indianapolis halted Deshaun Watson and made him uncomfortable early and often. Andrew Luck tossed a pair of touchdowns, and Marlon Mack went off for 148 rushing yards and a touchdown. As usual, T.Y. Hilton had a good game against Houston with five receptions for 85 yards.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs were sitting at home, enjoying their first-round bye. They also had a relatively late bye in the regular season, in Week 12, but went 3-2 after said bye.
Kansas City finished the regular season at 12-4, and it’s largely due to the ridiculously impressive play from Mahomes. In his first season as a starter, Mahomes completed 66 percent of his passes for 5,097 yards, 50 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while being sacked 26 times.
The sack number is the most interesting, given the Colts sacked Watson three times and hit him several other times — a recurring problem for the Texans this season. But Kansas City has a great offensive line, and if the Colts can’t get the pressure they need, it’s very likely Mahomes will carve up their defense as he’s done all season. Mahomes was only held to 1 or fewer touchdowns twice in the regular season, and threw for over 300 yards 10 times.
Andrew Luck, though, might be the comeback player of the year after he missed 2017 with injury. He played in all 16 games this season, completing 67.3 percent of his passes for 4,593 yards, 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
Despite Mahomes having the better season, it might be easier for the Colts, with their 11th-ranked defense, to stop him than it will for the Chiefs to stop Luck. That’s because the Chiefs ranked 31st in the league in total defense, and were in a number of shootouts this season.
Below is all you need to know to follow the action from Saturday’s early game.
- Time: 4:35 p.m. ET
- Location: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
- TV: NBC
- Streaming: FuboTV, NBC Sports
- Odds: The Chiefs opened as 5-point favorites for the divisional round matchup, according to OddsShark.
- On the injury front, the Chiefs have to be worried about safety Eric Berry, who is day-to-day with an injury and missed practice on Wednesday. Sammy Watkins and Spencer Ware have both been limited participants throughout the week.
- The Chiefs also just added a former Colts defensive back to the practice squad — a little gamesmanship, perhaps?
- For the Colts, their injury report includes names like T.Y. Hilton, Malik Hooker, Tyquan Lewis and Denico Autry.
- The tallest task for the Colts: slowing down the Kansas City offense, which has been nearly impossible this season.
- Dustin Colquitt believes this season is different, and special, for the Chiefs. And he’s someone who would know.
- Home playoff losing streak? Patrick Mahomes really doesn’t care about that.
- Over at Stampede Blue they have three factors to consider ahead of the game, three reasons why they think the Colts will win, a podcast with the enemy, a detailed look at red zone efficiency and wild card weekend defensive stats.
- The folks at Arrowhead Pride have a good Chiefs stock report, a look at how the Chiefs defense beats the Colts rushing offense, and Andy Reid’s perceived poor management of timeouts.
In the divisional round playoff picks from SB Nation, the six making selections were split on the matchup, with three to each team. The OddsShark computer breaks the tie by picking Kansas City, while the coin flip also landed on the Chiefs.