“04, 07, 13 & 19”



COLTS: I hope they made people aware of them after what they did last Saturday in the Wild Card round against the Houston Texans. Let me explain the mindset of a road team on the playoffs. You know you have the entire stadium against you, you want to take the crowd out of the game and throw the first punch (score first) and that’s exactly what the Colts did in Houston which is why they advanced. When the opportunity presented itself, the Colts executed. They ran the football consistently, Andrew Luck made a lot of clutch passes, they converted on third down, the receivers won their battles at the line of scrimmage to get free and make catches down the field and the defense was big time as well. Andrew’s entire uniform was too clean the entire game and that’s because the offensive line gave him time to throw the football. What really impressed me was their defense and how they neutralized a Texans offense that can put points up on the scoreboard. The Colts play a Tampa 2 scheme which always includes two safeties deep, linebackers with the ability to drop back and defend the pass and you need speed to pursue the football in open space. The Colts do everything I just described. Two rookies have come in and made huge impacts on this team: Linebacker Darius Leonard and offensive lineman Quenton Nelson have been huge. Frank Reich called a perfect game last week. Everything was just perfect for the Colts last week. To keep the ship moving, they will face the top seeded Chiefs to kick off the second round of the playoffs.

CHIEFS: I remember when I was previewing divisions in the Summer last year, I said on paper that they had the best offensive group in the league with Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and those other weapons. All these months later, the Chiefs offense was the fastest and most explosive in the league and in his first season as the starting quarterback, Patrick Mahomes threw 50 touchdown passes and he’s the projected frontrunner to be named the league’s most valuable player. This Chiefs offense was a video game in human form. Mahomes did things that had me amazed each week from throwing a pass on the run with his left hand in Denver on a Monday night in September or a no look pass in a game against the Baltimore Ravens back in December. I even compared Patrick to Aaron Rodgers from an athleticism standpoint because outside of the pocket, he does things that Aaron can do to extend the play. The one thing I can say is I’ve learned more about the Chiefs in some of the games they’ve lost than any of the 12 wins. In three of their four losses, they were down by double digits at one point in the game and found a way to come back. Although they fell short, they showed you they will fight until the clock reads three zeros at the end. They will look to get passed the second round of the playoffs when they host the Colts on Saturday.

COLTS PLAYER TO WATCH: Marlon Mack– He’s given the Colts some depth and balance on the offense. Teams don’t bother to load the box up on the Colts because of the attention T.Y. Hilton command. He can cut back in space to get yards and he can catch the ball out the backfield. I’d ground and pound the football with him to keep Mahomes on that sideline.

CHIEFS PLAYER TO WATCH: Allen Bailey– He can play on the edge as a defensive end or in the middle as a tackle. He comes in to stop the run and sheds blockers with quickness and strength. He’s not the quickest as a pass rusher, but he can collapse the quarterback’s pocket and get after the mobile quarterbacks that try to extend the play.

FINAL ANALYSIS: These two teams have a playoff history against one another. They met in the 2004 divisional back in the Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning days and the Colts beat them to advance. In 2007, the Colts kicked off wild card weekend against the Chiefs and Indy shut them down on route to a Super Bowl. 2013 is by far the most memorable playoff battle with these two. The Chiefs jumped out to a huge lead, a 28-point lead to be exact. The Colts came back to win and erase the lead which completed the second largest comeback in NFL playoff history. This will be the fourth time these two have met in the playoffs in the last 15 years. The Colts need to do exactly what they did last week in Houston. Start fast, take the crowd out the game. On defense, they need to keep Mahomes in check and make him beat you from the pocket. The Chiefs may start out rusty as most teams with the bye are known to do. The one thing that concerned me about the Colts in their last game is the fact they didn’t score any points in the second half last week. Kansas City has the offense to score at least 14 points in each quarter so it’s crucial that the Colts score when the opportunity presents itself. As a defense, Indy also struggles to defend the tight end. The Chiefs just so happen to have the best tight end in the business right now. It’s key for the Colts to attack this up and down Kansas City offense early. Sustain those long drives and spread the ball around. For the Chiefs, I’m using Kelce as a wide receiver. Flank him wide in space to create those mismatches.