Matt’s 2018 Individual Game Record: 16-11 (ATS & O/U)
Saturday, 4:35 p.m. ET (NBC)
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The Kansas City Chiefs haven’t won a playoff game at home since Jan. 8, 1994. That day, Joe Montana threw for 276 yards and a touchdown in a 27-24 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Last year, the Chiefs blew a 21-3 halftime lead at Arrowhead in the Wild Card Round and lost to the Tennessee Titans 22-21.
In the first game of this season’s Divisional Round on Saturday afternoon, the AFC top-seeded Chiefs host the No. 6 Indianapolis Colts. It’s the first postseason meeting between the franchises since Jan. 4, 2014, in Indianapolis when the Colts won a wild 45-44 game. Indy rallied from 28 down in one of the biggest playoff comebacks in league history. Andrew Luck threw for 443 yards and four scores but was picked three times. T.Y. Hilton caught 13 of those Luck passes for 224 yards and two scores. Alex Smith threw for 378 and four TDs for Kansas City; Smith is now with the Redskins. Other than Luck and Hilton, really not any key skill position players left on either team for this one.
These clubs last met in the regular season in Week 8 of 2016 in Indianapolis, a 30-14 Chiefs victory. Smith left injured and Nick Foles (now with Eagles) threw for 223 yards and two scores in relief. Travis Kelce caught seven balls for 101 yards and a score. Luck threw for 210 with two TDs and a pick. He also led the team with 60 rushing yards.
The Colts are 4-0 vs. the Chiefs in the playoffs all-time.
Luck Vs. Mahomes? Yes Please!
This figures to feature the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award winner in Luck and the MVP in Patrick Mahomes. While the Chiefs are the conference’s top seed, the Colts are the hottest team in the AFC in winning 10 of 11 since starting 1-5 – they are just the third team in league history to start 1-5 and make the playoffs.
We liked the Colts last Saturday at +2 in Houston and they prevailed 21-7. Luck had 222 yards and two scores, with Marlon Mack rushing for 148 yards (Colts playoff record) and a score. What makes this Colts team perhaps the best it has been under Luck is the running game (Mack), a terrific offensive line that allowed just 18 sacks this season and a defense anchored by second-round pick/linebacker and potential Defensive Rookie of the Year Darius Leonard. Houston didn’t sack Luck once, and Leonard had a game-high 13 tackles. It was the Colts’ largest road playoff win in 23 years. Indianapolis did lose a key defender to injury in safety Mike Mitchell, and it’s not looking good for him this week.
Kansas City had the NFL’s top offense this season in averaging 35.3 points and scored at least 40 five times. Mahomes joined Peyton Manning as the only players to ever throw for at least 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns. Mahomes (50) and Luck (39) combined for 89 TD passes this season — the most in any QB matchup in postseason history. Mahomes, Kelce and receiver Tyreek Hill were all named first-team All-Pro.
The big question is whether the Chiefs’ defense is good enough. That group ranked 31st in yards allowed and 24th in points (26.3 ppg). Kansas City is also second-to-last against the run, and the Colts have averaged 158.7 yards per carry over the past six. The one thing Kansas City can do defensively is get to the quarterback as it had 52 sacks on the year. The Indy starting offensive line hasn’t allowed a sack in the six games it has played together this season.
- Chiefs are 12-5 ATS in their last 17 vs. AFC.
- The Colts are 1-8-1 ATS in their last 10 games after consecutive ATS wins.
- Over is 5-1 in Chiefs last 6 games overall.
If the Chiefs win, they host either the Patriots or Chargers in the AFC title game. Indianapolis would head to that victor should it win. We think the Chiefs win by a touchdown in a shootout. So give the points for an NFL bet.