This season is slipping by way too quickly. To think that it’s been a year since Week 16 of last year when the Chiefs were set to face a playoff bound Indianapolis Colts team.
The Colts won the game 20-13, and secured their playoff berth, finishing their own “worst to first” story. The differences in this year’s team and last year’s are astounding, but the similarities are staggering.
As the Chiefs prepare to face this Colts team in the same place but under much different circumstances — they aren’t a team coached by an imbecile and quarterbacked by a third stringer — here are the five things the Chiefs will need to do in order to keep this late season winning streak rolling into Week 17.
Key #1: Hello, My Name is Jamaal Charles. Heard of Me?
In that game last year Charles had a huge day. In fact, the Chiefs as a whole had a big day on the ground. Charles ran all over the Colts to the tune of 226 yards on 22 carries. If you don’t feel like doing the math, that’s over 10 yards per touch. If that wasn’t good enough, a guy named Peyton — no, not that Peyton — Peyton Hillis broke the century mark as well. And still the Chiefs couldn’t win. I digress. I say, go with what works. Charles is a stud. He proved it last week. Let him continue being studly in front of the home crowd at Arrowhead. I would love another 200 yard plus game from number 25.
Key #2: Locate Richard Mathis on Every Play
The Colts have the leading sack getter in the NFL on their team. Mathis has quietly picked up 16.5 sacks this year. That’s better than one per game. The Chiefs offensive line has progressed over the last month, and have only allowed three sacks on Alex Smith in the last three games. Thus, Smith’s performance has improved as well. For all of that to continue, the offensive line must continue playing lights out and that means keep the “Indy Sack-Master” off of Smith.
Key #3: Defense?
The Colts have the #22 offense in regards to yards per game and the #16 offense in points per game. That’s not prolific by any stretch of the imagination. To make matters worse, since Colts quarterback Andrew Luck’s favorite receiver, Reggie Wayne, had his season ended with a blown ACL, the Colts have dropped five points per game from their average. That’s huge. On top of that, the Colts have only the #18 offense in the passing yardage category. The Chiefs defense really could return to form against the Colts team who — even though they’ve won their weak division — is struggling to find an identity in the absence of their star receiver. The defense can’t allow Luck to get into a rhythm.
Key #4: Hi, My Name is Dexter McCluster. Heard of Me?
Special teams could stand to make a huge difference in this game. With McCluster likely to return from his ankle injury — and MRSA infection scare — I see him wanting to break out against this Colts team in a big way. Special teams is the momentum swinger and they always seem to play better in front of the home crowd with the music and the noise and the hype. Let’s not forget Quintin Demps and Knile Davis either. This could be the best trio of returners in the NFL in a long time. The could stand to have a huge day.
Key #5: Make a Statement
This isn’t so much a key to victory, but a key to gaining respect and momentum heading into the playoffs. All anyone can talk about is the Chiefs easy schedule and the fact that they only beat bad teams and lose to good teams. The Colts are undoubtedly a good team — bordering on great — as they’ve handed the Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks losses this year. Of course, they got their butts kicked by the St. Louis Rams, so…any given Sunday, I guess. The point here is, they’re a division champion already and a playoff team. If the Chiefs beat them, which they should, then that tells everyone that the Chiefs are for real and at least deserve the #5 Seed heading into the playoffs in two weeks.
That’s it, Addicts. Those are my Five Keys to Victory for today’s match up. What do you think? Did I miss anything? Sound off below!