At 4:45pm on January 4th,the 11-5 Indianapolis Colts will face the 11-5 Kansas City Chiefs. Each team has seen their fair share of struggles throughout the past few years, but each team has rallied together in 2013 through some very elite talent. After finishing 2-14 in 2011, the Colts have stormed back into playoff contention the last two years finishing 11-5 for the past two regular seasons. Between the 2008-2012 seasons, the Chiefs finished last in the AFC West four out of five years. Much like the Colts in 2011, the Chiefs finished 2-14 for their 2012 season. After hiring Andy Reid and acquiring quarterback Alex Smith from San Francisco, the Chiefs look like they will be strong contenders for the next several years.
While following big performances with a few head scratchers, Andrew Luck has been key in helping the Colts make the playoffs the past two years. With total of 27 overall touchdowns, 3,822 passing yards, and 377 rushing yards, Luck is one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL at only 24 years of age. Alex Smith isn’t know as the flashiest player in the league, but his consistent play and few mistakes have made him an important part of the new Chiefs offense. Smith has very similar stats to Luck, finishing the year with 24 overall touchdowns, 3,313 passing yards, and 431 rushing yards. One of the important factors of this game will be for the quarterbacks to limit turnovers.
The Colts were known more this year for who they picked up in the running game, but the Chiefs were known for their running backs performance. Trent Richardson had a disappointing sophomore season, failing to rush for 100 yards in any game this year. Despite several lack luster seasons for the Colts, Donald Brown came back with a vengeance with 537 rushing yards, 6 rushing touchdowns, 214 receiving yards, and 2 receiving touchdowns. Jamaal Charles dominated the running back position this year with 1,287 rushing yards, 12 rushing touchdowns, 693 receiving yards, and 7 receiving touchdowns.
The loss of Reggie Wayne was obliviously significant for Andrew Luck, but T.Y. Hilton finished the year strong with 1,083 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Jamaal Charles was one of the most important pieces in the passing game for Alex Smith, but Dwayne Bowe finished the year with 673 yards and five touchdowns.
While starting the year extremely strong, the Chiefs defense struggled in the later part of the year when they had to face the powerhouse of the Denver Broncos twice. The Chiefs defense finished the year 25th against the pass and 22nd against the rush. The Colts defense played tough against the pass all year, ranking 13th. Their rush defense is a bit suspect however, ranking 26th.
This will be a close game, but if the Chiefs can get Jamaal Charles going, hey may be too much for the Colts to handle.
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