Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs
When: 4:35 PM ET, Saturday, January 12, 2019
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
KANSAS CITY – History does not favor the Kansas City Chiefs entering Saturday’s AFC divisional round matchup versus the sixth-seeded Indianapolis Colts, but that does not concern the overwhelming favorite for league MVP honors. Second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes leads the NFL’s most prolific offense as the top-seeded Chiefs look to secure only their second win in 12 playoff appearances since 1994.
Mahomes, the driving force behind an offense that ranked No. 1 in total offense (425.6 yards) and points per game (35.3), bristled at the revelation that Kansas City went one-and-done in 10 of its last 11 trips to the postseason, including four losses to the Colts. “I know the history and stuff like that, but at the same time, we’re a different generation,” said Mahomes, who threw a league-high 50 touchdown passes. “I’m ready to go out there and win a football game at Arrowhead.” Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck finished second to Mahomes with 39 scoring passes after missing the entire 2017 season, but Colts coach Frank Reich pointed to the other side of the ball as the reason for his team’s success. “There’s no doubt the defense is a huge part of the reason that we are where we’re at,” Reich said. “The reason, I think, is because, No. 1, we have good players. You can have a great scheme, but if you don’t have good players, it doesn’t matter.”
TV: 4:35 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Chiefs -5.5. O/U: 57
ABOUT THE COLTS (11-6): Indianapolis overcame a 1-5 start by winning nine of its last 10 regular-season games and carried the momentum into the playoffs by knocking off No. 3 seed Houston 21-7 as Luck threw a pair of first-half touchdown passes to stake his team to a 21-point lead. Running back Marlon Mack did the bulk of the heavy lifting by rushing for 148 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries, his fifth 100-yard effort in 11 games. Dontrelle Inman has caught a scoring pass in each of the last three games, giving Luck another target opposite top wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who had five catches for 85 yards last week after amassing 1,270 yards during the regular season. The Colts’ defense allowed a league-low 16.4 points over the final 10 weeks of the regular season.
ABOUT THE CHIEFS (12-4): Mahomes joined Peyton Manning as the only players with at least 50 TD passes and 5,000 passing yards (5,097) while also finishing second to Drew Brees with a 113.8 passer rating in his first season as a starter. Mahomes threw for 13 scoring passes against two interceptions over the past five games following the release of star running back Kareem Hunt, which provided an increased role for Damien Williams (four rushing TDs in the last four games). Speedster Tyreek Hill had 87 catches for 1,479 yards and 12 touchdowns and is a threat to scoring from anywhere on the field while tight end Travis Kelce hauled in 103 receptions for 1,336 yards and 10 scores. The Chiefs tied for the NFL lead with 52 sacks but were 31st in yards allowed (405.5).
1. The 89 TD passes by Mahomes and Luck are the most by any quarterbacks in an NFL playoff game.
2. Mahomes threw for at least 300 yards 10 times and had at least four scoring passes in seven games.
3. Indianapolis allowed the fewest sacks in the league with 18.