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Playoff teams will meet at Arrowhead Stadium at 1 PM ET on Sunday when the Indianapolis Colts (9-5, 4-3 away) travel to play the red hot Kansas City Chiefs (11-3, 5-2 home). They will look to improve their seeding among AFC playoff teams and both have an outside shot at a first round bye thanks to losses by the Patriots and Bengals one week ago. Either way, this doesn't seem likely to be the final time these teams meet in 2013.
The home team is favored by -6.5 at 5 dimes sportsbook on virtue of two powerful performances in a row that saw them crush Washington 45-10 and demolish Oakland 56-31. Both of those games were on the road. Sports bettors agree and are favoring the Chiefs to the tune of 80% of the action at sportsbook.com. However, buyers beware; Kansas City is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games at home. The total opened at 41.5 points, but has quickly shot to 44 points. The total has gone OVER in 6 of Indianapolis's last 8 games. The total has gone OVER in 4 of Kansas City's last 5 games.
The Colts have alternated wins with losses in the last six weeks. Most recently they hosted the Houston Texans and easily dismissed them for the second time this year by a score of 25-3. Indianapolis can beat good teams on the road, as they proved in Week 3, beating San Francisco 27-7. QB Andrew Luck is starting to progress nicely. Easily one of the most talented players in the NFL, Luck is 48 for 78 with 506 YDs, 6 TDs and a single INT in the last two weeks. He will catch a Chiefs defense that is capable of being had this week; they rank 20th in the NFL at 250.8 YPG against the pass.
Kansas City has responded tremendously well where many teams would have wilted. After started the season 9-0, they dropped three in a row, losing to San Diego and twice to Denver. Adding insult to injury, both of those teams reside in the same division as the Chiefs, the AFC West. Since then, they have scored a total of 101 points. That's mighty impressive considering it happened in only two weeks' time and they had scored 30+ just once all season along.
Keying the Chiefs recent strong play is QB Alex Smith. Cast aside by the 49ers, he is really making his former team look stupid for giving him up. Smith went 17/20 for 287 YDs and a whopping 5 TDs against Oakland. RB Jamaal Charles has been superb a well. He carried the ball 19 times for 150 YDs and 1 TD against Washington and has reached the end zone in four consecutive games. The Chiefs are tough as nails when both of these players show up with big games. Charles figures to get plenty of action this week, as the Colts rank just 27th against the run and is allowing 128.9 YPG.
In our opinion, only one of these teams is a true contender and that's the Chiefs. It's difficult to put the Colts in that category when you look at recent losses to the Bengals, Cardinals and Rams. That's not a true playoff contender. The Chiefs on the other hand, are not just a team on the fringe of contention. They are a legitimate threat to do some damage in the playoffs this year, especially with their recent offensive perfotmances. When a contender and a pretender meet this time of year, you'd expect the pretender to be exposed.
The Chiefs have a tremendous home field edge and a good team to go along with it. They have the potential to dominate here, but we'd be lying if we said there were no concerns. Giving up 41, 35 and 31 in 3 of their last 4 games is a concern.
Bottom line - The Chiefs are the better team here. Yet, this could very well be a preview of a Wild Card playoff game and if that happens, the better team, the Chiefs, will be on the road at Indy! Really no incentive for the Colts here. They already locked up their division and are locked into a home playoff game. While Indy coach Pagano says they will play out the rest of the season at full strength, does anyone really believe him? The Colts aren't going to show everything they've got here and even if they play at full strength they gain nothing with a win. There's no do or die desperation on the Colts side, so we're going to lay the number with the more motivated, better team. Chiefs -6.5 (which incidentally, we would also do if the Colts needed this game)
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