The playoffs are here. The Indianapolis Colts, winners of the AFC South, will host the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday afternoon at 4:35 p.m. eastern time. The game will be broadcast nationally (and locally!!) on NBC, with Dan Hicks and Mike Mayock announcing the game. You can listen to the game on the radio nationally on Westwood One sports with Kevin Kugler and James Lofton announcing, and as always you can listen on the radio locally with Bob Lamey and Jim Sorgi on the call. Here's what you need to know heading into this Saturday's wild card matchup against the Chiefs:
What Happened Last Week?
The Colts finished off the regular season on a hot note, beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 30-10. Their defense once again was great and the offense played well again too. They finished the season on a three-game winning streak during which they held opponents to just 20 points combined.
The Chiefs lost to the San Diego Chargers in overtime by a score of 27-24. The Chiefs rested many of their starters and despite playing their backups they took the Chargers to overtime and actually should have won the game. Ryan Succop missed a potential game-winning field goal at the end of regulation and should have had another try due to an illegal formation by the Chargers, but the NFL officials missed yet another call. Either way, taking the Chargers to OT while playing their backups is impressive for the Chiefs, but probably doesn't have much of an impact at all on this week's game.
What Happened the First Time?
These two teams met just three weeks ago, with the Colts traveling to Kansas City and beating the Chiefs handily by a score of 23-7 behind a dominating defensive performance. The defense forced four turnovers and they shut down the Chiefs offense (outside of the first drive), thanks also to Andy Reid for not getting Jamaal Charles as many touches. It was a dominating performance by the Colts the first time, but don't expect the same this time around.
Pagano on the Game vs. the Chiefs:
Here is what Colts head coach Chuck Pagano had to say this week about the game against the Chiefs:
You've mentioned stopping Jamaal Charles. What else does their offense bring?
"The quarterback obviously has played a long time, understands the system, plays well in the system. They've got tight ends that can make plays. They've got wide receivers that can make plays. They've got a back-up runner who comes in and does a nice job. Their offensive line, much like ours, has had to battle through injuries and shuffle the deck here and there. They've got a good O-line and they can beat you a lot of different ways. We know it all starts with Jamaal (Charles). They certainly have a bunch of other weapons that you have to tend to."
What do you expect to see from their defense?
"There's no telling. Bob Sutton does a great job with that system. He spent time with Rex (Ryan) in New York. I'm familiar with that system and what they're capable of generating from a pressure standpoint. We kind of know what to expect first and second down. They get Justin (Houston) back and there's a multitude of things they can dial up. I know there's a ton of things that they have that we have not seen. Your rules, your assignment, communication, all that stuff takes care of those things, the unknown."
How much do you have to adjust your gameplan with Justin Houston back in the lineup?
"Again, we know he is a game-wrecker. He's a great player certainly versus the run and rushing the passer, 11 sacks, all those type of things. We got to make sure we tend to him and don't let him wreck the game."
- None -
Fili Moala, DE (knee)
Aubrayo Franklin, NT (knee)
Sergio Brown, S (groin)
Darius Butler, CB (quad)
Vontae Davis, CB (groin)
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR (hamstring)
Ricky Jean Francois, DT (foot)
Robert Mathis, OLB (rest)
Mike McGlynn, OL (elbow)
Cory Redding, DE (shoulder)
Greg Toler, CB (groin)
Bjoern Werner, OLB (ankle)
I said at the time of the first game that I'd take the Colts if the two teams had a rematch in the wild card round, and I still think so. The big key, obviously, will be stopping Jamaal Charles, and if the Colts can do that, they'll win. I don't think it will be easy by any means and the Chiefs will be ready to play and will want payback for the last game these two teams played (plus the Colts 3-0 postseason record against them), but the Colts are also playing their best football of the season right now and I don't expect that to change. Colts 27, Chiefs 21