Week Sixteen: Colts (9-5) at Chiefs (11-3) Primer

Michael Hickey

All you need to know to get ready for this Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs (11-3).

The Colts travel to Kansas City to play the Chiefs in what could very well be a preview of the AFC wild card round matchup. CBS will have the game at 1:00 this week, with Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf announcing. Bob Lamey and Jim Sorgi will do the broadcasting on the radio locally on WFNI and WHLK. Here is everything you need to know to get ready for this weekend's game:

What Happened Last Week?

The Colts put together their best game in a long time, beating the Houston Texans at home 25-3. Andrew Luck threw 2 first half touchdown passes and Adam Vinatieri had three field goals as the Colts defense shut down the Texans' offense in the Colts most dominating win since week four. It was much needed, too, after the stretch they had been having.

The Chiefs also had a dominating win, beating the Raiders on the road 56-31. At one point in the second quarter the Chiefs led 35-10, and they were led behind a simply ridiculous performance from running back Jamaal Charles. Charles had only 8 rushes for 20 yards and a touchdown, but receiving-wise he had 8 catches for 195 yards and 4 touchdowns, accounting for over 200 total yards and 5 total touchdowns.

Pagano on the Game vs. the Chiefs:

Here is what Colts head coach Chuck Pagano had to say on Wednesday about the game against the Chiefs, specifically talking about how much better they are this year versus last year:

"I think they got a great coach, got a great staff, got good players. Obviously brought them together. I think the biggest tell other than them playing good football in all three phases consistently to this point, if you look at them last year at this time, I think they were minus 27 in turnover margin. They're plus 21 right now. It's easy for all of us to figure out why you go from 2-14 to 11-3 at this point."

Look out for Jamaal Charles:

Pagano is well aware that Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles poses a big threat, and he talked on Wednesday about the challenge the Colts face in trying to stop him:

"He's a great player. He can kill you in the run game, kill you in the pass game. He leads their team in receptions. I think he's got 18 touchdowns. Scored four, I guess, yesterday receiving in the first half alone. So the guy's a threat to score from anywhere. We got to do a great job. It's 11 guys on defense doing their job, taking care of their responsibility. If you have one breakdown, all it takes is one breakdown, one wrong fit, guy that's responsible on a screen play to turn it back inside, contain it. Guy that's a splitter. Guy that's supposed to inside out. Everybody's got to be singing out of the same hymnal when you play. And they've got other guys, they got a bunch of guys. Receivers and tight ends, quarterback's playing well. But certainly Jamaal is the guy you got to take care of first and foremost."

Weather a Factor?

The weather could be a factor this Sunday, as the forecast isn't too promising at this point. Added to the crowd noise at one of the NFL's best home fields and it could be a tough challenge for the Colts this weekend. Here's an update on the weather, from the Indy Star's Mike Chappell:

Playoff Preview?

If things stay the same as they are right now (and there's absolutely no guarantee of that whatsoever), the Chiefs would be the AFC's five seed and come to Indianapolis to play the four seed, the Colts, in the first round of the playoffs. Chuck Pagano was asked on Monday if he will coach this game differently knowing there's a real chance the two teams will meet again in two weeks:

"I think you just look at, you do what you have to do to win a football game. Again, they've got a great football team. We have to go on the road and play in the elements. We all know how hard it is to play there. We're going to do what we have to do. Try to go win a football game and not really worry about what lies ahead or what is down the road. We'll do, again, whatever is necessary, whatever gives us the best opportunity, the best chance in all three phases to win that game."

Injury Report:

DOUBTFUL:

QUESTIONABLE:

PROBABLE:
For more on the injury situations, read my notes from yesterday's press conference with Chuck Pagano.


Prediction:

This will be a very tough test for the Colts. Not only are they playing a good team with a good defense and a good offense led by a dynamic player, but they also will be playing in one of the most hostile environments in the league and possibly even with weather being a factor. With a makeshift offensive line due to injuries, I'm not sure the Colts will be able to protect Andrew Luck and Jamaal Charles will be a big test for the defense as well. I don't think the Colts will win this Sunday in Kansas City, but if these two teams are playing again in two weeks in Lucas Oil Stadium, I think I like the Colts. But on Sunday in Kansas City with a bunch of injuries? Yeah, I'm taking the Chiefs. COLTS 17, CHIEFS 27

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