Indianapolis Colts @ Kansas City Chiefs: Colts can rely on more than Luck alone

Andrew Luck
Andrew Luck has been instrumental for the Colts this season

Saturday's divisional-round playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts is dominated by two in-form quarterbacks but Matthew Crist thinks there is more to this matchup than just a shootout.

"The Colts QB has enjoyed a fantastic regular season which has seen him throw 39 touchdown passes and 4,593 yards total following a crippling shoulder injury that resulted in him sit out the 2017 campaign."

Indianapolis Colts @ Kansas City Chiefs
Saturday, 21:35
Live on Sky Sports Main Event & Action

Luck can prevail in the end

After an awful start to the season which saw them with a 1-5 record after six games, the Indianapolis Colts are now one of the most potent teams in football and are hitting their straps just at the right time as they head into the NFL Divisional clash with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Let's be honest about it, much of this would not have been possible without a bit of, well, Luck. The Colts QB has enjoyed a fantastic regular season which has seen him throw 39 touchdown passes and 4,593 yards total following a crippling shoulder injury that resulted in him sit out the 2017 campaign.

But give credit where it's due and though much of this Colts' renaissance can be put down to Andrew Luck, they have improved as a unit and since Week 7 have boasted the best record in the league, the best points differential, the best third down percentage and the best defensive record.

This was emphasized in last Saturday's 21-7 road win over the Houston Texans which only reiterated the fact that the team as a whole is a force to be reckoned with in its own right as Frank Reich's men eased past Deshaun Watson and company.

Indianapolis's defence, which has allowed just 12.8 points per game over their past four contests, overwhelmed the Texans, who were limited to only 322 total yards and stopping the Chiefs' passing attack and the threat posed by Patrick Mahomes must be their priority if they are to progress.

So a combination of Luck's ability and an impressive offensive line, which has allowed a league-low 18 sacks, not to mention the potency of running back Marlon Mack, who has rushed for 100 yards plus in three of his past four games, there's no reason to believe the Colts can't make it 11 wins from 12.

Paddy's power key to Chiefs

Like the Colts, much of the Kansas City Chiefs success has been built around the prowess and power of rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes who has been lighting it up all season long on his way to becoming one of the success stories of 2018.

Mahomes had a fantastic debut season, becoming the second player in NFL history to throw 50 touchdowns and for at least 5,000 yards and like Luck, his impressive numbers have had a positive impact throughout the team.

KC Chiefs.jpg

The Chiefs lead the league in scoring with an average of 35.3 points per game while their offence is the best there is, offering 425.6 total yards per contest, mostly thanks to Mahomes' amazing arm and mobility who also has 272 rushing yards and two scores to his name.

But they didn't secure a first round bye on the back of just one man with Tyreek Hill burning defences for 1,479 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns and tight end Travis Kelce hauling in 103 passes for 1,336 yards along with 10 scores as the Chiefs averaged 32.4 points over its final five games.

The Kansas City Chiefs are favoured by 5 points at 1.9310/11 on the Exchange, which sounds about right as they look for their first divisional playoff win since the 1993 season, which was also the last time they won a playoff game at home, but the Colts caused an upset last weekend and are more than capable of doing the same again given half a chance.

The Picks

With so much of the pre-game discussion being about the ability of the two opposing quarterbacks it's difficult not to focus on how both men will fair in their respective matchup, but there are plenty of other contests across the field worthy of consideration.

The Chiefs don't have the best defence and with the Colts' ability to move the ball and chew up clock they may look to avoid a shootout in favour of a powerful running game, so backing Marlon Mack to make 100+ rushing yards and score a Touchdown seems an obvious choice at 7/2 on the Sportsbook.

However, with this in mind, the Chiefs might just decide to play to their strengths and go the aerial route and despite it being his first ever playoff appearance, if Mahomes can replicate his season-long MVP form, it might be a question of who will score and how many?

Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill have been in fine form all season and if they can get the service then the value might be in the touchdown scorer market, so backing Hill to score the last TD of the game is a tempting 6/1 on the Sportsbook.

But let's be honest, only the purists wouldn't want to see a slugfest between two of the best gunslingers around so backing Luck and Mahomes to both throw for 400+ yards at 20/1 on the Sportsbook could make things interesting if nothing else.

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