Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts Spread Pick
Opening Line: Indianapolis -2.5
Kansas City rested almost all of their starters last week but was very competitive in a 27-24 OT loss to San Diego. Indianapolis won their third-straight game by double digits last Sunday, easily disposing of Jacksonville 30-10. The Colts owned the Week 16 matchup 23-7.
The Chiefs will want to establish RB Jamaal Charles early in this contest, both on the ground and through the air. He ran for 106 yards on 13 carries in the first meeting before Kansas City had to play catch up. Indy's run defense has really improved throughout the season and they know Charles is basically the whole offense in KC. QB Alex Smith was sacked five times in Week 16 and 39 times on the season. OLB Robert Mathis led the NFL with 19.5 sacks and the Colts harassed Smith all game. Smith lacks great targets to throw to as WR Dwayne Bowe posted terrible numbers for a supposed No.1 receiver (57-673-5). Charles led the team in receptions, yardage and TD catches. Kansas City HC Andy Reid loves the screen pass and Indianapolis has to do a good job of defending it to keep Charles in check (remember what he did to the hapless Raiders). WRs Donnie Avery and Dexter McCluster have speed and quickness but aren't used much in the offense.
The Colts scored a lot more points than their offense earned but that was because of the TOs the defense generated. QB Andrew Luck has been placed in many favorable situations when starting drives and he has capitalized on them. He threw the same amount of TD passes this year (23) that he did in 2012 but nine fewer interceptions. He had a big day in the first matchup and has developed a great rapport with WR T.Y. Hilton. The Chiefs pass defense has abandoned them in recent weeks and while Hilton doesn't score TDs (all five of TD catches came in two games), he piles up the yardage and moves the chains. TE Cody Fleener has also stepped up in the absence of WR Reggie Wayne (IR). Luck does a good job of spreading the ball around and former Stanford teammate WR Griff Whalen has contributed down the stretch. Kansas City was averaging five sacks per game earlier in the year but ended up averaging less than three by season's end. The Colts have had issues all season with establishing the run but RB Donald Brown knocked off a 51-yard TD run in the earlier encounter. Like the rest of their defense, the Chiefs struggled late in the season vs. the run.
ATS Game Pick
Kansas City hasn't won a playoff game since 1993 and we don't like their chances here. They started the year 9-0 but finished 11-5. Their five losses came to teams that made the playoffs this season. Their two wins were against two doormats, Washington and Oakland. Smith doesn't make a lot of mistakes but doesn't make a lot of big plays either. This game will come down to the Indy defense against Charles. They know he is coming and are playing with a lot of confidence. The momentum is clearly on their side (helped by their earlier dominant win) and with the number almost a non-factor, we have no qualms about backing them this week.
Our Crew's Pick: Take the Indianapolis Colts -2.5 at GtBets and get yourself a 100% bonus on your first deposit!