The Indianapolis Colts can complete team goal number one today in Kansas City. A victory will guarantee a wild card berth in the NFL playoffs. Any playoff berth is cause for celebration, but considering the Colts were 2-14 just a season ago, their 2012 accomplishment is nothing short of astounding.
The only thing standing between the Colts and this accomplishment is the 2-12 Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs season has been one of disappointment mixed with tragedy. They're coming off two straight losses where they've netted one offensive touchdown. In a word, the Chiefs offense stinks.
The Chiefs are 25th overall in offense, 31st in passing and dead last in points per game. One thing the Chiefs can do, however, is run the football. Kansas City is the seventh best rushing team in the NFL.
The principle reason for that success is Jamaal Charles. Charles spent most of 2011 sidelined with a knee injury. He's come back and not missed a beat. Charles has already amassed 1240 yards this season and 200 more as a pass catcher. He is the beginning and the end of the Chiefs' offense.
Thus the Colts' challenge this week is simple: stop Jamaal Charles and stop any semblance of offense for Kansas City. Last week, Charles carried only nine times for 10 yards against the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders didn't score an offensive touchdown, but shut out the Chiefs with five field goals en route to a 15-0 victory.
The Chiefs alternatives to Charles are not pretty. Peyton Hillis continues to be stymied by a two-year old video game jinx and Brady Quinn is quarterbacking at a level that makes Blaine Gabbert look like Dan Marino. With All-Pro receiver Dwayne Bowe sidelined, Kansas City's passing game is even less potent.
The Colts' defense has done a nice job against featured backs this season. Adrian Peterson had his lowest output of the season with only 60 yards, Chris Johnson didn't top 100 yards in either game against the Colts, and last week the Colts did a decent job containing Arian Foster until the final drive of the game.
If the Colts front seven is able to put the ball in Quinn's hands, look for big games from Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, Vontae Davis and Cassius Vaughn. Also look for a Colts victory and make plans to be watching them in the playoffs two weeks from now.
Final score: Colts 31, Chiefs 13
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