Weather forecast: Perfect. It's in a dome!
Line: Even, Over/Under: 46
The Chiefs are 5-11 ATS.
The Chiefs are 2-6 ATS away.
The Chiefs are 5-10 ATS as the underdog.
The Chiefs are 2-6 ATS as an away underdog.
The Colts are 10-5 ATS.
The Colts are 6-1 ATS at home.
The Colts are 4-1 ATS as the favorite.
The Colts are 2-1 ATS as a home favorite.
From Yahoo Sports
Chiefs: When Kansas City and Indianapolis met on December 22nd at Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs went out and staged their worst game performance of the season. Indianapolis won 23-7, thanks to four turnovers from the Chiefs.
The K.C. defense gave up a 51-yard touchdown run by Colts running back Donald Brown, who then added a 33-yard touchdown reception. Offense, defense and special teams all failed the Chiefs in that meeting.
Indy had a time of possession edge of more than 16 minutes and did not turn the ball over. The Chiefs defense had 17 missed tackles. Anything close to a repeat will make it near impossible for the Chiefs to win the game on the road. Although they were 6-2 away from home, this will be the first dome game for Andy Reid's team, and given the atmosphere of the playoffs, it's a stage many of the Chiefs have never seen before this weekend.
Colts: Play smart. And keep the momentum going.
The Colts are in the midst of a three-game winning streak and won four of their last five games. Indianapolis has opened up the offense a bit by going more no huddle and playing at a faster tempo. They've had success moving the football, especially with short dump passes and quick openers on the ground.
Look for more of the same Saturday against Kansas City. The Colts will try to run the ball more in an attempt to keep the Chiefs' offense off the field.
Defensively, Indianapolis has done a much better job of forcing turnovers and getting off the field on third down over the last month of the season. That has to continue this week. The Colts were able to force turnovers in its earlier game with the Chiefs two weeks ago. Controlling the tempo, while not easy, will be key.
Chiefs: "This is what you've worked for, what we've worked for. You want to get to the bigger stage. You want to get to this. Other than eliminating some distractions and some of the hype, it's still going to come down to blocking and tackling and throwing and catching." --- Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith.
Colts: "Accountability. No personnel shifts. No change in schemes. No world-changing type of deals. It's just holding guys accountable. If you're not doing your job, you're going to be called out within ourselves, not in the media or anything like that. It's guys being accountable." --- Colts OLB Robert Mathis was asked what changed on defense over the last month of the regular-season. Indianapolis has allowed 13 total points over the final three games of the year.
--Chiefs inside linebacker Derrick Johnson vs. Colts running back Donald Brown.
Johnson led the Chiefs in tackles for the fourth consecutive season, finishing with 107 stops. But when the Chiefs and Colts played the Sunday before Christmas, he had seven of K.C.'s 17 missed tackles. It was an unusually bad performance for Johnson and the one guy who took advantage was Brown. The Colts runner ripped off a 33-yard catch and run for a touchdown in the first half and came back with a 51-yard TD run in the first half. Brown produced 108 yards from scrimmage, with big plays and two touchdowns.
--Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe vs. Colts cornerback Vontae Davis.
When these teams met two weeks ago, Bowe was the Chiefs most popular target in the passing game as quarterback Alex Smith threw to him 10 times. But Bowe caught only half of those passes for 46 yards and no touchdowns. It's been that kind of disappointment for the highly paid receiver. Davis and the rest of the Colts secondary were able to control Bowe. On the season, Davis has 48 tackles, an interception and 13 passes defensed. He had three tackles and two passes knocked down against Bowe.
--Colts offensive line vs. Chiefs defensive line.
For the first time in quite a while, Indianapolis have a full compliment on the offensive line. Injuries have played havoc with continuity and consistency up front for the Colts this season. Kansas City, though, has a tough, hard-nosed defense and knows how to get after the quarterback. Pass protection and run blocking is paramount.
--Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles vs. Colts inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman.
Charles is an AFC Offensive Player of the Year candidate. His ability to run with the football as well as catch the ball out of the backfield on screens and dumps offs are integral to the success of the Kansas City offense. Freeman, meanwhile, has played well all season but particularly over the last month of the season. A good one-on-one tackler with the athletic skills to face premier running backs. But he will be severely tested by Charles on Saturday.
--RT Eric Fisher did not participate in Wednesday's practice with the Chiefs after suffering a groin injury in the team's Tuesday practice. Fisher suffered the injury late in practice, and was not able to work less than 24 hours later. His status for Saturday's game in the playoffs against Indianapolis will be clearer on Thursday when the Chiefs have their last on-field work.
--OLB Tamba Hali did not work in the Chiefs practice on Wednesday, missing his second session of the week because of a swollen knee. Hali has now missed the team's last five practices and last Sunday's game against San Diego. His status for Saturday's game in the playoffs against Indianapolis will be clearer on Thursday when the Chiefs have their last on-field work.
--WR Dwayne Bowe has been cleared to play for the Chiefs in Saturday's game in the playoffs against Indianapolis. Bowe was held out of last Sunday's game in San Diego because of a concussion. He passed the tests in the NFL protocols on Monday, allowing him to return to practice. On Tuesday, he was cleared to play.
--ILB James-Michael Johnson suffered a sprained ankle in the Chiefs game against San Diego and was placed on the injured-reserve list. Johnson had provided most of his contributions on special teams over the season. The Chiefs signed ILB Robert James to take his spot on the roster.
--NT Aubrayo Franklin (knee) fully practiced on Thursday. Franklin did not practice Tuesday or Wednesday. He is expected to be a game-time decision against Kansas City on Saturday.
-WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (hamstring) went through a full workout on Thursday. He had limited work on Wednesday and did not participate in Tuesday's practice session.
--CB Greg Toler (groin) did not practice on Tuesday. Toler has seen limited playing time the last two weeks after being sidelined for several weeks. He was hurt against Denver on Oct. 22. Toler has slowed been worked back into practice and games. His status for Saturday's game with Kansas City remains undetermined.
--CB Darius Butler (quad) did not practice Tuesday. Butler is expected to be available for the Kansas City game on Saturday. His availability against the Chiefs will be updated later this week.
--CB Vontae Davis (groin) was hurt against Jacksonville and did not return. He underwent an MRI after the game, which was negative. He will be day-to-day this week in practice. Davis' availability for Kansas City will be updated later in the week.
--OLB Bjoern Werner (ankle) did not practice Tuesday. He was wearing a walking boot on his left foot. Werner was sidelined against Jacksonville and did not return. He will be day-to-day in practice this week and hopes to be ready to play against Kansas City on Saturday. His MRI was negative after the Jaguars game.
--DE Cory Redding (shoulder) practiced Tuesday. He did not dress for the Jaguars game. Redding was hurt against Kansas City a week earlier and did not practice last week. He may possibly start against the Chiefs on Saturday.
--OG Joe Reitz (concussion) went through practice on Tuesday. He was a pregame inactive for the Jacksonville game. Reitz suffered a concussion against Houston and did not play against the Chiefs two weeks ago. He practiced last week but was held out of the Jaguars matchup.
--OG Mike McGlynn (elbow) was able to practice Tuesday. He did not play against Jacksonville. McGlynn did not practice last week but should be available to start against the Chiefs on Saturday.
--S Sergio Brown (groin) went through practice on Tuesday. He was sidelined for the Jaguars game. Brown has not practiced for the last two weeks. He might be available for the Kansas City game on Saturday.
--DT Ricky Jean Francois (foot) practiced for the first time in several weeks on Tuesday. His availability for the Chiefs game on Saturday probably won't be determined until later in the week.
ESPN Game Preview:
The Indianapolis Colts think they're playing their best football at the perfect time. The Kansas City Chiefs are hoping to finally be healthy when it matters most.
They'll meet for the second time in three weeks Saturday at Indianapolis in an AFC wild-card game.
The Colts (11-5) have won three straight while allowing 20 points, including a 23-7 victory at Kansas City on Dec. 22.
"I think if you check the last six Super Bowl winners, they got hot at the right time," Indianapolis defensive end Robert Mathis said. "That's what it's all about, getting hot at the right time."
The Chiefs (11-5) have lost two in a row, but they approached Week 17 cautiously and now expect to have wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (concussion), linebacker Justin Houston (dislocated elbow) and left tackle Braden Albert (hyperextended knee) as they try to end a seven-game playoff losing streak.
However, the status of linebacker Tamba Hali (knee) is up in the air, and right tackle Eric Fisher could miss this game due to a strained groin. Neither practiced Thursday, though coach Andy Reid remained optimistic Hali would play as long as the swelling subsides.
"It's the start of a new season. That's how the playoffs work," Reid said. "You're in the dance, as they say. It's another phase of the season. You've worked very hard as a team to get into this position. Now it's important that you exhaust yourself to make sure you're right."
A 30-10 win over Jacksonville on Sunday closed out the Colts' regular season on a high note. Andrew Luck completed 26 of 37 for 282 yards and a touchdown, finishing his sophomore regular season with 23 TDs for the second straight year while cutting his interceptions in half to nine.
That followed their Week 16 win over the Chiefs in which Luck improved to 2-0 against Kansas City. He went 26 of 37 for 241 yards while counterpart Alex Smith was 16 for 28 for 153 yards and an interception.
Kansas City missed out on the AFC West title and a first-round bye with its late-season struggles, though some of its key players had a designed week off in Sunday's 27-24 loss at San Diego. Smith was among them.
"Obviously, guys are going to be feeling pretty fresh, so that's a good thing," Smith said. "It will really help us as far as the week goes, having a great week of preparation."
Prior to the loss to the Colts, Smith had thrown seven TDs without an interception in wins at Washington and Oakland. The Chiefs went 6-1 on the road with Smith at quarterback this year, and he threw 11 TDs and one pick in those games.
He now gets another shot at a Colts defense that forced eight turnovers in the last three games while allowing nine third-down conversions in 37 chances.
The defensive efficiency hasn't been there all season, and the team now looks back at a players meeting during the second half of the season as a turning point.
"It was an important moment for us as a defensive unit, and the results are where they are now. We finished December strong," end Cory Redding told the team's official website. "It was basically just coming together, putting things out on the table as a unit. Get anything that's going to hold us back from achieving our goal out in the open and, 'Let's talk about it, let's hash it out and let's get to playing football fun and together as a unit.' That's what we did."
Kansas City's defense had a stronger start, leading the Chiefs to a 9-0 start before injuries and inconsistency settled in as the team lost five of its last seven. It allowed 12.3 points per game in its first nine and 27.7 in the last seven.
The Chiefs know the Colts offense doesn't cause itself many problems, yielding a league-low 14 turnovers. Kansas City was tied for second with 18, four of which came against Indianapolis.
"That's a challenge I think both ways -- both offensively and defensively," Reid said. "(The Colts are) efficient with the ball, they don't have a lot of penalties that are called against them and they don't turn the ball over much. That's this time of the year, you've got to eliminate mistakes. Mistakes get magnified in the playoffs."
The Chiefs haven't won a playoff game since the 1993 season, with three losses during their postseason skid coming against the Colts.
Indianapolis has dropped three straight in the postseason after last season's 24-9 wild-card loss to eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore.
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