Wild card weekend is in the rearview mirror, and now, this is where things start to get a little bit more interesting. The Divisional Round is coming up this weekend as the remaining eight teams in the NFL playoffs compete for their respective spots in the Conference Championship. This is where we separate the men from the boys, and we don’t say that lightly as we gear up for the most exciting few weeks of the American sports calendar.
The first match-up that we’re going to be looking at is the Kansas City Chiefs vs Indianapolis Colts, in what will be a classic 1st seed vs 6th seed encounter. The Chiefs had the opportunity to sit back and analyze the rest of the competition last week, but many fans often ponder whether or not that serves as a benefit.
The reason for that is because the Colts were busy tearing through the Houston Texans at the weekend, building up some great momentum for themselves. Of course, you could argue that they’re going to be more fatigued than Kansas City, but you’ve also got to take into consideration just how much pressure will be on the shoulders of Andy Reid’s team.
The expectation is that Kansas will at least make it to the Super Bowl this year, after improving massively over the course of the last few seasons. They wound up with a 12-4 regular season record, but in truth, how much will that really matter if they can’t at least come close to winning the big one? Sure, they’ve had a great year, but the hype is there and there’s no way of avoiding it.
Indianapolis, on the other hand, has been flying under the radar for quite some time now, but their win at the weekend really did put them on the map again as potential contenders. Their 10-6 record is hardly spectacular but it’s all about momentum at this stage of the campaign, and we’ve seen a few miracles runs to the big dance before.
The Big Day –
With the game being played at Arrowhead there’s certainly going to be an advantage in favor of the Chiefs, given that it’s considered to be one of the loudest stadiums in the country, statistically speaking. Then again, a 2-7 record in home playoff games hardly screams confidence.
Alas, a cloud of doubt being cast over any team is enough to light a spark under them, and that’s certainly the vibe we’re getting from the Colts. After all, fans are quick to forget what happened when they last met in the postseason back in 2014 when they put together the second largest comeback in playoff history to beat Kansas City and progress.
The football world will be looking towards two men in this game: Andrew Luck and Patrick Mahomes. Luck has the experience behind him and always seems to discover his composure under pressure, and he should have an absolute field day against this Chiefs defense. That’s easily the home side’s biggest weakness and Luck has the power and efficiency necessary to exploit that.
Mahomes, on the other hand, is the kind of young quarterback that can make plays that just don’t seem logical. He has defied all expectations that have been put in front of him in the last few months, and he’s quite clearly brimming with confidence. If he can find some separation and get to his receivers, then he could put up big numbers.
The money line favors the Kansas City Chiefs in this one with bet365, in particular, having them at -240 with the Colts being the +200 underdogs. That’s good value on the Colts, especially when you consider what they’ve been able to accomplish already this season.
The point spread is +5.5 for the Colts and -5.5 for the Chiefs, which again, seems to indicate that there’s good money to be made in Indianapolis. Opening and BetOnline have Indy at +5 and KC at -5, but the general consensus appears to favor the 5.5.
We’ve learned not to take the seeds into too much consideration over the course of the last few years, and instead, just focus on the facts that we have in front of us. Who is in form, and who possesses impact players that can get the job done.
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