The first game of divisional weekend takes place at Arrowhead Stadium as the #1 seed Kansas City Chiefs take on the #6 seed Indianapolis Colts. Indianapolis are far from your average #6 seed, having won 10 of their last 11 games to get to this point. Having had a phenomenal start to the campaign, Kansas City are well-deserving #1 seeds. This might be the best opportunity to reach a Super Bowl that star Coach Andy Reid has had in his career. In what is sure to be an exciting opener, let’s take a look at our best bets on the board.
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Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs had a very solid hit out against Oakland in Week 17 before enjoying a well-earned bye last week. Patrick Mahomes was again excellent against the Raiders, throwing for 281 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 24 attempts. Tyreek Hill had another day with over 100 yards and a touchdown, whilst Tight End Travis Kelce capped off another All-Pro season. Running Back Damien Williams has also stepped up to provide Kansas City with a new threat in the backfield after Kareem Hunt’s release.
Whilst the Chiefs have struggled defensively this season, their performance against Oakland was one of the best of the year. They were excellent in pass defence, allowing just 5.6 yards per attempt from Derek Carr and forcing 2 crucial interceptions. Justin Houston and Dee Ford have emerged as one of the league’s premier pass rushing duos, combining for over 20 sacks on the season. With how strong the Chiefs offence has been this year, even an average performance from this unit should be enough to pull out the win.
The Colts enter this one off the back of a very impressive road win in Houston last week. Andrew Luck had another solid day through the air, throwing for 222 yards and 2 touchdowns. Marlon Mack has appeared to get going in the running game, totalling 148 yards and a touchdown on his 24 carries last week. T.Y Hilton continued his strong play after taking his clown mask off, hauling in 5 catches for 85 yards. This unit will need to be at their best this week to keep up with the high-powered Chiefs offence.
The win in Houston last week was primarily due to an excellent performance from this Colts defence. They did an excellent job halting Deshaun Watson in the passing game, allowing just 218 total yards through the air. Whilst Watson did have a few solid scrambles, they held the Texans Running Backs to just 29 yards on the ground. Even star Receiver DeAndre Hopkins was held to only 37 yards on the day. Guys like Darius Leonard, Clayton Geathers and Pierre Desir give this unit some star power. Coming up against arguably the league’s premiere offence, they’ll need to continue their strong recent form here.
Everyone is seemingly taking the Colts in this one and I just can’t see why. They’ve admittedly been in strong form of late, but their schedule has been incredibly easy. This is also their third straight week of travel, whereas the Chiefs have been at home this whole time. Andy Reid is an excellent coach after a bye, and I expect him to have KC well prepared here. With one of the best home fields in the NFL, Arrowhead Stadium will almost certainly be rocking here. Laying only 5 points, I’ll be putting my faith in who I believe to be the better Coach/QB duo at home.
Given the dynamic nature of both of these offences, a lot of money has been coming in on the over. My under play here is partly a result of the weather forecast. It is expected to be around 30 degrees Fahrenheit in Kansas City come game day, with the real possibility of rain and even snow. With such a high total, I expect this to somewhat halt these two high-scoring offences. The recent success Indianapolis has found in the run game makes me think they’ll also look to slow the game down here. Currently at 57, I think this goes down before kick-off.
First Touchdown Scorer Analysis
With no first touchdown scorer markets at the time of writing, I’ll analyse the most likely touchdown threats on each side. For Kansas City, you have to start with the dynamic pass-catching duo of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. The recent form of RB Damien Williams means he’s a solid outsider. Indianapolis have almost a mirror offence, with pass-catchers Eric Ebron and TY Hilton being their two primary red-zone threats this season. Marlon Mack has also rounded into form of late and is probably the most likely Colt to score first.
Score Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs 31-24 Indianapolis Colts