The Kansas City Chiefs will host the Indianapolis Colts this Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. The winner will earn a spot in the AFC Championship Game.
The Chiefs received a first-round bye by securing the AFC’s No. 1 seed, while the Colts punched their tickets to the divisional round by defeating the Houston Texans on Wild Card Weekend.
The Colts vs. Chiefs showdown is scheduled to kick off at 4:35 p.m. ET.
NESN.com’s trio of Mike Cole, Ricky Doyle and Andre Khatchaturian made their against-the-spread picks for each of this weekend’s divisional-round matchups. Here are their picks for Colts vs. Chiefs.
Indianapolis Colts at (-5.5) Kansas City Chiefs, Saturday, 4:35 p.m. ET
Mike: Chiefs. I opened on the Colts because I think they do some things that will give the Chiefs trouble. That being said, Indy quite literally hasn’t seen a team like the Chiefs all season. The Colts haven’t faced a single top-10 offense, and now they take on arguably the league’s most explosive unit. There’s also this from The Action Network: Dome teams playing outdoor playoff games since 1990 are 12-44 straight-up and just 18-36-2 against the spread. That has even kind of been the case for the Colts this season, with four of their six losses coming outdoors. The Colts have injuries in the secondary with safety Mike Mitchell going to injured reserve. That could be especially costly for a defense that’s struggled to stop tight ends all season and now has to find a way to stop an All-Pro in Travis Kelce.
Ricky: Colts. Can you ever really trust Kansas City come playoff time? The Chiefs have been on a whole different level offensively this season, but their defense will be their fatal flaw this week. Kansas City has the 31st-ranked run defense, according to Pro Football Focus, and now must face an Indianapolis offense that’s coming off a tremendous ground showing against Houston’s stout front seven. The Colts’ offensive line, which ranks third in run blocking, per PFF, will control the line of scrimmage, ultimately opening up shots down the field for Andrew Luck. The Colts also rank first in third-down conversion percentage and fifth in red-zone scoring percentage, whereas the Chiefs rank 25th in opponent third-down conversion percentage and dead-last in opponent red-zone scoring percentage. Look for Indianapolis to extend and finish drives, resulting in an upset.
Andre: Colts. Marlon Mack — not Andrew Luck or Patrick Mahomes — will be the difference in this game. Mack has been unreal since Week 15, averaging five yards per carry against elite rush defenses like Dallas and Houston. The Chiefs have the league’s second-worst rush defense, allowing more than five yards per carry. Mack’s success will alleviate Luck’s workload. The Colts are 9-0 this season when Luck throws fewer than 40 times in a game. Meanwhile, the Chiefs have to go up against Indy’s elite rush defense, which allowed fewer than four yards per carry this season. Luck also gets protection. The Colts allowed 18 sacks in the regular season, and they’ll be ready for the Chiefs’ dominant pass rush.
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Thumbnail photo via Jay Biggerstaff/USA TODAY Sports Images