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3 Factors to Consider Ahead of Colts vs Chiefs

Indianapolis Colts v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Yesterday I gave you three solid reasons to believe the Colts can go on the road and beat the Kansas City Chiefs. Today I want to provide 3 additional factors that will play significant roles in Saturday’s outcome.


Indianapolis Colts v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The forecast on Saturday in Kansas City is calling for snow showers and 5 to 10 mph winds. The expectation is about an inch of accumulation. Those are hardly blizzard level conditions, so this won’t be a game like the one the Colts played in Buffalo, but it looks as though it could be a relatively sloppy day for football, and depending on when that snowfall occurs, could see impacted visibility.

Normally, this would be bad news for the Colts. They are a dome team, as many will point out, and have historically struggled in adverse conditions caused by poor weather. In this case, though? That weather may prove to work very much in favor of the Colts.

The area of the game most impacted by cold, snowy weather is the passing game. Given that the Chiefs’ primary strength is there, adverse weather conditions almost certainly favor the Colts. Cold, wet, slushy games turn into trench battles, and that is the kind of game the Colts are both equipped, and certainly capable of winning.

It seems unlikely that the conditions will be such that they will make it impossible to throw the ball, and it would be unwise to place our hopes on that. However, if they do become a factor, the Colts needn’t fear being impacted in the way that the Colts teams of old used to be.


Indianapolis Colts v Houston Texans Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The best case scenario is that apart from kicking off, Rigoberto Sanchez doesn’t have to do a thing in this game. Given that this is a playoff team, that likelihood is pretty low. The punting game will play a factor at least to some degree. Because of this, I did a little digging and found some interesting data.

Following a punt the Chiefs have ended drives with a touchdown 50% of the time when they start the drive outside their own 20 yard line. First, think about how incredible that stat is. This is a very good and very efficient offense. When they get the ball with decent field position, they’re putting points on the board, and there is a 50/50 shot they end the drive in the end zone.

However, when their drives begin inside their own 20, the Chiefs’ offense is far less efficient. That 50% figure drops down to 37.5, which makes the goal very clear for the Colts in terms of their special teams. If they can consistently pin the Chiefs inside their 20 on punts, they give their defense a much better shot at getting a stop.

The good news is that over the past 6 weeks, that is exactly what they have been doing. The average starting position of their opponents after punts over that time is just inside the 20-yard-line. Ideally they won’t need to punt often, but if they do, they’ll need Rigo to bring it.


Indianapolis Colts v Oakland Raiders Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images

There are several key players on both rosters who are still relative unknowns in terms of their availability for Saturday. For the Colts, guys like Malik Hooker, who was in a boot yesterday, T.Y. Hilton, and Tyquan Lewis are all players we just don’t know about at this point. That is unlikely to change much despite injury reports, because this team has played it very close to the vest in terms of any injury updates all season.

For the Chiefs, safety Eric Berry, receiver Sammy Watkins, and running back Spencer Ware were all said to be “making progress” according to Andy Reid. He seems to be about as keen on giving up injury details as Frank Reich. We will know more when official injury reports come out this afternoon, but not likely much more.

As far as the Colts go, my guess is that if they are at all able to play, they will play. Hilton is almost a lock to be in the game at this point, and I’m not sure you could keep him off the field if you tried. Malik Hooker was said to be wearing his boot as a precaution, and I would guess that if he can go, he will as well. Tyquan Lewis is less certain.

Regardless, being able to play and being able to be effective aren’t necessarily the same thing. How these players on both sides are able to contribute could go a long way to deciding this game, and whether or not they can get in the game on Saturday is less important than what they can do for their teams once they get on the field.