Watch Indianapolis Colts vs Kansas City Chiefs live streaming Free NFL AFC Divisional Playoffs Online, Saturday 12 January 2019, NFL online live with HD quality on PC, Laptop, iPhone, Ipad and Android over the Internet. It’s Will be kick of at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri, United States, Time 04:35 PM (ET) broadcast on NFL Network, CBS, Fox Sports, NBC, ESPN and and Online.
The opening game of divisional weekend is a fascinating one. The paths the Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts took to get to this point could not really have been more different, after all.
Kansas City opened the season 5-0, with the offense exploding out of the gates with record-setting performances, and the large division lead they staked themselves to early on helped maintain their playoff positioning even after a late-season stumble where they lost twice in a row. The Colts opened the year 1-5, with their offense unable to get fully untracked early on, and it was only a five-game winning streak and nine-wins-in-10-games stretch that propelled them into the playoffs, a stretch that also needed a Week 17 playoff play-in to cap it off.
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The Chiefs have one of the league’s longest-tenured and most respected coaches, and though they lost their offensive coordinator and changed their starting quarterback, they have a lot of the same infrastructure left over from last year’s playoff squad. The Colts have a first-year coach who wasn’t even their first choice, all new staffers at every position, several rookies playing enormous roles, and a seventh-year quarterback who was coming off a major injury and who nobody knew whether he would ever be the same.
But things worked out similarly for both of them. Andy Reid’s decision to make the switch from Alex Smith to Patrick Mahomes worked out better than anyone could have imagined. Frank Reich ended up being the right coach at the right time and Andrew Luck ended up being just fine. So now, here we are. Chiefs. Colts. Playoffs. This should be fun (4:35 p.m. ET, NBC).
After all, the less time Mahomes and company spend on the field, the fewer opportunities they have to score. And the Chiefs did finish the season with the NFL’s worst run defense, according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA. Not just that, they finished dead last in Adjusted Line Yards, which assigns credit to the offensive line based on a percentage of yards gained. They ranked 30th in Power Success, indicating that they could not get stops in short yardage situations. They ranked 27th in stuff rate, stopping only 15 percent of opponent runs at or behind the line of scrimmage. And they ranked last in second-level yards per carry, indicating that they did not do a strong job of tackling on the back end.
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The Colts, meanwhile, were able to control several games with Mack beating up on defensive fronts — even against teams with good or even elite run defenses. Mack ran for 126 yards against an above-average Bills run defense, 139 yards against the Cowboys’ fifth-ranked run defense, and last week he pounded out 148 yards against the Texans’ top-ranked group against the run. The Colts’ offensive line was better in protection than clearing the way for runs, but it was still one of the better run-blocking groups in the league. And particularly in rookie Quenton Nelson, they have one of the better road-graters in football.
In order to ensure they’re able to run the ball throughout the game and not just early on, however, the Colts have to ensure that they do not get down by multiple scores early in the game. The Chiefs jumped out to a double-digit lead inside the first 20 minutes in nine of their 16 games. They went 8-1 in those games. In the seven where they did not establish a double-digit lead in the first 20 minutes, they went just 4-3.
But keeping pace early is not just about running and taking time of the clock. You have to get some points on the board yourself. And for the Colts, that usually means going to the air. Which means they’ll have to protect Andrew Luck against a strong group of Chiefs pass rushers. Chris Jones finished the season with 15.5 sacks and 29 quarterback hits, as well as 71 pressures, which ranked third among defensive tackles. As if it’s not difficult enough to deal with him over the middle, there’s also Dee Ford (13 sacks, 29 hits, 77 pressures) and Justin Houston (nine sacks, 12 hits, 48 pressures) to deal with on the edge. And Allen Bailey, Derrick Nnadi, Xavier Williams, Breeland Speaks and more come in waves along with them.
Of course, the Colts protected Luck far better this season than they ever have before. Luck was routinely among the handful of most-heavily pressured quarterbacks in the NFL during his first five years in the league, but this year, only five quarterbacks were pressured less often. And no quarterback was sacked less often either overall (2.7 percent of his drop backs, per Pro Football Focus) or when pressured (9 percent of pressures resulted in sacks) than Luck.
Last week against the Texans, the Colts sat in a soft zone and dared Deshaun Watson to pick them apart with precise passes fitted in between multiple defenders. Watson struggled to do so, completing 29 of 49 throws overall, for just 235 yards, one touchdown and one interception. A passer that completed 68.3 percent of his passes during the regular season completed only 59.2 percent during the Wild-Card round. A passer that averaged 8.2 yards per attempt during the year netted just 4.8 per attempt in his team’s playoff loss. A quarterback who finished the regular season with 26 touchdown passes and only nine interceptions threw one of each in that game.
The Colts held DeAndre Hopkins to just five catches and 37 yards on 10 targets and Watson directed almost all of his throws to either slot man Keke Coutee (14 targets) or one of his running backs (13 targets combined). Perimeter corners Pierre Desir and Quincy Wilson did an excellent job of redirecting routes and sitting underneath the easy throws into in-between zones, forcing Watson to come off his first read and check down for short gains or fire into tighter windows than he wanted to.