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The Colts are a team that will enter the divisional round of • Absender: liny195, 02.08.2019 08:29

the playoffs white hot and on a roll Rock Ya-Sin Jersey , looking to shock the Kansas City Chiefs with a win at Arrowhead to carry them to the AFC Championship game. It seems like a tall task to accomplish, especially given the potency of this Chiefs offense. They have been incredible to watch this season, with Patrick Mahomes doing things that really shouldn’t even be possible. Seriously. Some of his throws defy physics, technique, and probably the Geneva Convention.It is fortunate too, because on the defensive side of the ball, they have been far less than stellar. They have allowed offenses to move the ball and score with relative ease, with Football Outsiders ranking their defense as 17th in the league in total weighted defense and 32nd against the run. In eight games this season their opponents scored 27 points or more against them. They have needed outstanding play from their offense, and they have had it. Watching them actually began to remind me of another team I remember watching several years ago. The 2005 Indianapolis Colts.Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesThey were a brilliant team. The offense was star studded, featuring Peyton Manning fully in his prime, Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, and possibly the best offensive line group of the Peyton Manning Era. Unsurprisingly, Football Outsiders ranked that offense 1st in the league in passing and 8th in rushing. The Chiefs in 2018, by comparison, rank 1st in the passing game and 4th in rushing. Quite an impressive feat, indeed. There is a major difference between these two squads though. Where the Chiefs’ defense has been fairly middle of the road, the Colts of 2005 were a much stouter group. They ranked 8th in total defense and 17th against the run.Like the Chiefs of 2018, the Colts of that year were a force to be reckoned with. They ripped off 14 wins to start their season and benched their starters for their last two games. It doesn’t hold up to compare every stat and number from now and then, because the league is so much different, however, they had the same kind of offensive dominance that we have seen the Chiefs execute this season. That team took their number 1 seed and bye week and looked primed to roll through the competition to a Super Bowl appearance. They showed up to the RCA Dome to a raucous crowd and hosting a 6th seeded Pittsburgh Steelers team that had clinched a playoff berth in week 17 and traveled to Cincinnati to take on the winner of their division Khari Willis Jersey , the Bengals. They had no business being there, but they were anyway.Sound familiar?Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY SportsNo one would have believed when that game kicked off that the Steelers would be the team to walk out victorious. The Colts were the 8.5-point favorite. All season long, the Colts had been virtually unstoppable on offense. The thing about the playoffs is that you basically wipe the slate clean when it begins. Whatever was done before doesn’t really matter anymore. By the time they reach the playoffs, teams aren’t what they were early on in the season.For instance, the Chiefs started this season at a ridiculous pace. They had 41 touchdowns heading into their bye in week 12. Prior to their next game, they cut Kareem Hunt after his whole scandal broke, and since then their offense hasn’t been quite the same. Sandwiched in between two games against the dreadful Oakland Raiders are an overtime win against the Baltimore Ravens, a last-minute loss to the Chargers, and a road loss to the Seahawks. In the game against the Ravens the Chiefs were able to score just 24 points in regulation before kicking a game winning field goal in overtime. Against the Chargers, they managed to put up 28 and scored 31 against the Seahawks. Those aren’t poor games, but they are a far cry from their first three games when they opened the season scoring 38, 42, and 38 points. The first 11 games of the season, they averaged 36.73 points per game. Over their last 5 they are down to 32.2. Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY SportsIn short, their offense is very good. If you take them lightly, they will make you pay dearly. However, since that infamous showdown with the Los Angeles Rams, they haven’t been putting up the kind of insane numbers they did early on. Sure, in week 13 they put up 40 on the Raiders, but the Colts hung 42 on them, so we can’t treat that as though it tells us much except that the Raiders are awful.They haven’t had Sammy Watkins since week 11, and the exit of Kareem Hunt in addition to Watkins’ injury has definitely had an impact on the Chiefs’ ability to be as deadly as they once were. That is not to say this isn’t still one of the best offenses in the league, simply that they are no longer playing at the level they did earlier in the season. If you remove the Raiders games from the calculation and just look at their average against the Ravens, Chargers , and Seahawks, it puts their average points per game at 28.67. That’s no small feat, but it isn’t insurmountable for a very potent Colts offense.A major factor in the Colts last two wins has also been their ability to start fast on both sides of the ball. They were able to force punts on their first two defensive drives of both of the last two games. Likewise, the offense has scored touchdowns on its first two drives in those past two games. Frank Reich will be prepared to go against this Chiefs team, and the offense can definitely put it on them. If they can come out with a long, grinding drive for 7 points on their first possession and then get a defensive stop and do it all again, it can really go a long way to setting the tone. The major difference between this game and those previous for the Colts has to be that this team can’t sit on a lead the way they have against some of their other opponents. Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty ImagesUnderstandably, the Colts are an underdog. No one expected them to be in this situation. Few will be expecting them to leave Arrowhead victorious. The same was true for that young Steelers team. To go on the road and face the top seed in the conference is a tall task. To do it against a prolific offense led by a star quarterback is even tougher. The Steelers did it by showing up in every phase of the game. They came out playing like they understood exactly how big that game was. To use a cheesy coaching clich茅, they wanted it more. From the coaching to the execution, they started the game playing like the better team and they didn’t let up. That is exactly what it will take to beat the Chiefs in their own stadium. Great execution, total commitment, and an obsession to finish strong. That’s what Reich has demanded of this team all season, and he has gotten them believing in it. Back in 2005 we had to watch as what was arguably the Colts’ best team in the Manning Era get knocked off by a more balanced, more hungry Steelers team that came on the road and punched them in the mouth on their way to a Super Bowl. The Colts have had to fight every step of the way since week 7. They are mentally tough and capable of dominating teams in the trenches. The Chiefs have been the bully on the block all season long. Saturday we’ll see if they can take a punch. NASHVILLE, Tenn. 鈥?Andrew Luck is a win away from putting the Indianapolis Colts back into the playoffs for the first time since 2014 while doing something聽no NFL quarterback has managed聽since at least 1970.Beat an opponent 11 straight games.Luck has won his first 10 games against the Tennessee Titans, matching Hall of Famer John Elway, who went 10-0 against the Patriots. Another victory Sunday night would leave Luck all alone in dominating another team with an聽AFC wild-card berth at worst聽for the Colts (9-6).Not that Luck is counting on past success, especially after the Colts needed a late TD to聽edge the Giants 28-27聽for their eighth victory in nine weeks."What happened previously and what happened in previous years, it doesn't matter," Luck said. "What happened last weekend does not matter. It's a new cycle."Tennessee safety Kevin Byard refuses to ponder why Luck has tormented the Titans so. The Titans are 2-3 against the Colts in Byard's three seasons 鈥?Luck missed 2017 with a shoulder injury 鈥?and four straight wins have Tennessee (9-6) a win away from a second straight postseason berth.By kickoff, they'll all know exactly what's at stake. The AFC South title will be up for grabs if Houston loses to Jacksonville. Even crazier for the Titans, a No. 2 seed with a first-round bye would be available if the Texans, Patriots and Ravens all lose. That's more than enough to keep the Titans focused."We're just blessed to be in this position to be playing for a playoff game, so that's all the motivation that guys need T.Y. Hilton Jersey ," Byard said. "They'll be motivated, we'll be motivated. It'll be a fun game."Some things to know about the final game of the NFL's regular season:MARIOTA'S STATUSThe Titans may not know聽if quarterback Marcus Mariota will play聽against the Colts.聽Mariota was knocked out聽of the Titans'聽25-16 victory over Washington last weekend聽with a stinger 鈥?the same injury that kept him out of a 38-10 loss Nov. 18 in Indianapolis. Mariota is optimistic he'll play instead of backup Blaine Gabbert."This is what it's about," Mariota said. "You're playing for everything. I'm doing everything I can day and night, and just trying to make sure that I can be ready."ONE-SIDEDThis division rivalry has been one of the most lopsided in football over the past 15 years.Since losing three straight against the Titans from 2000-02, Indianapolis is 25-6. While the Titans often came up short against University of Tennessee grad Peyton Manning, they have been even worse against Luck. It's not just Luck and Manning who have been problematic for the Titans. Matt Hasselbeck and Dan Orlovsky, now both ESPN commentators, also beat the Titans in backup roles. Hasselbeck also played for the Titans from 2011-12.MISSING PIECESThe Titans will be without a pair of defensive starters. Four-time聽Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jurrell Casey (left knee) was placed on injured reserve Monday聽, a week after cornerback Logan Ryan went on IR with a broken left leg. If starting linebacker Brian Orakpo misses a third straight game with an elbow injury, that would be a big hit for the NFL's No. 2 scoring defense.Tennessee defensive coordinator Dean Pees will be available for a unit that has allowed two offensive TDs over the past four games. Pees missed most of the first game against the Colts after being taken to an Indianapolis hospital, where he spent the night.The Colts are banged-up as well, waiting for tight end Eric Ebron to clear concussion protocol, while center Ryan Kelly has an injured neck.DEFENDING HENRYOne difference from the last game between these teams is Derrick Henry. The Titans running back leads the NFL with 532 yards rushing and eight TD runs in December, though he had nine carries for 46 yards against the Colts in November."He's as good as advertised," Colts linebacker Anthony Walker said. "He's big, he's explosive, and when he gets outside he's a problem in the open field. Definitely, have to get him before he gets going."ONE FOR THE AGESAdam Vinatieri has been achieving new feats all season and can add a couple more just three days after celebrating his 46th birthday.If the league's oldest active player 鈥?and NFL's new career scoring leader 鈥?simply appears Sunday, he would break a tie with Jeff Feagles (352) for the third-most games played in NFL history and become only the fourth player to participate in a game at 46. The others are George Blanda (48), Morten Andersen (47) and John Carney (46).And he may not be finished yet.Vinatieri signed a one-year contract in March to stay with the Colts and has expressed interest in continuing to play in Indy next season.

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