Two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL square off in the AFC divisional round of the playoffs when Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts battle Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs at home in Kansas City.
The red-hot Colts won 10 out of their last 11 games, after starting the season a dismal 1-5. As the #6 seed, the Colts defeated AFC South rival #3 Houston Texans in the Wild Card 21-7.
The Chiefs (12-4) secured the top seed in the AFC and we awarded a bye week in the opening round. At home this season, the Chiefs are 7-1 with their sole loss against the LA Chargers by one point.
#6 Indianapolis Colts (11-6) at #1 Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)
Kickoff: 1:35pm PT
Location: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Point Spread: KC -5
The Colts opened as a 4-point dog and early money poured in on the Chiefs. With a total of 57 points, this matchup has the highest over/under out of the other three divisional games. The bookmakers are expecting a shootout. The over is 5-1 in the last six games for the Chiefs.
Luck vs. Mahomes
If you enjoy quarterback battles, then this should be a game for the ages. Andrew Luck pretty much has the Comeback Player of the Year in his pocket after missing all of last season. It took a couple of games before Luck shook off the rust. After throwing eight picks in his first six games, Luck only tossed seven over the next ten.
At one point, Luck threw three or more touchdowns in eight consecutive games. He finished the season with nine three-score performances.
TALE OF THE TAPE
Andrew Luck: 39 TDs, 4,593 yards, 15 INT, 71.5 QBR
Patrick Mahomes: 50 TDs, 5,097 yards, 12 INT, 82.0 QBR
Mahomes is having an MVP year considering it’s only his first full season as a starter. He backed up Alex Smith last season. Mahomes has been blowing up defenses all season long and creating headaches for opposing defense coordinators. Mahomes led the NFL with 50 touchdowns on a 66 percent completion rate.
In his down time, Mahomes enjoys playing Fortnite with fans. When he’s on the field, he’s unleashed seven games in which he threw four or more touchdowns. On two instances, Mahomes threw six touchdowns. In half of his games this season, Mahomes did not throw an interception. He threw three in a dramatic 54-51 loss to the Rams in Los Angeles, in what many fans considered was the Game of the Year.
Mahomes has two favorite targets with WR Tyreek Hill (12 TD, 87 receptions) and TE Travis Kelce (10 TD, 103 receptions). Twelve different players caught touchdown passes from Mahomes this season.
Who Has the Better Defense?
The Chiefs are not good on defense and allow 26.3 points per game, which is ninth-worst in the NFL. The porous Chiefs have the second-worst passing defense in yards allowed and the sixth-worst run defense in yards allowed. In terms of DVOA, the Chiefs are ranked #17 overall, which puts them in the middle of the league.
The Chiefs rely on their proficient offense to win games for them. They crank out 35.3 points per game. They out the onus on the opposing team to keep up with them.
The Colts have a defense that has been improving with every game. They were tenth overall with 21.5 points allowed per game. The Colts are ranked #8 overall in DVOA and boast a #4 ranked run defense that allows only 101.4 yards per game.
Monster Mack and Post-Hunt
The Colts found a reliable running game a couple games into the season when Marlon Mack stepped up. He finished the season with 908 rushing yards and 9 rushing touchdowns. Mack is averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Mack destroyed the Texans last week for 148 yards.
The Chiefs took an unexpected blow when TMZ leaked a tape of Kareem Hunt’s altercation with a woman in his apartment building. The Chiefs quickly cut Hunt, who had contributed 14 touchdowns in 11 games.
The Chiefs are relying on backup RBs Spencer Ware and Damien Williams as a running back by committee. Spencer (2 TDs and 4.8 yards per carry) was the former starter before he got injured and lost his job to Hunt.
Williams, who started for several seasons with the Miami Dolphins, looked good over the last four games of the season with 6 total touchdowns and 4 rushing scores. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry and ran for 103 yards against the Seattle Seahawks.
Against the Spread
The Colts are 9-7 against the spread this season, but they are 4-1 ATS in their last five games. They are also 4-1 ATS in their last five road games.
The Chiefs struggle to cover and went 1-5-1 against the spread in their last seven games. They are 1-4 ATS in their last five home games. The Chiefs are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 playoff games. Andy Reid is 1-4 in the postseason as the head coach of the Chiefs.
According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas, the Kansas City Chiefs are 9-2 odds to win the Super Bowl. The Colts are 12-1 odds to win the title.