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CHIEFS AT COLTS
2007 NFL PLAYOFFS
Just about all you hear about concerning the Colts these days is negative. Yes, some of it is justified. They have the 7th worst run defense in the HISTORY of the NFL. That's pretty bad folks. So naturally, with the Chiefs coming to town this week for the Wildcard playoff game, with the 2nd leading rusher in the NFL this year in Larry Johnson, many have the Chiefs advancing to the next round or at worst, losing a very close game.
But let's not forget to take a look at the positives for the Colts before we jump to conclusions. Here's a team that went 12-4 this year, including an 8-0 home record. 95% of the teams in the NFL would be thrilled to death with those results. You'd also be hard pressed to find many other teams in the NFL this year that were as competitive as the Colts. Let's start with their losses. One game the entire year, got away from them, and that was the 44-17 loss to the Jags Dec 10th. Let's take a look at their other losses. They went into Dallas to play a Dallas team on fire with their hot new QB Tony Romo. Yet despite turning the ball over numerous times (Manning threw 2 picks after having only thrown 3 all year) they still lead going into the 4th quarter and had a chance to tie it up in the closing seconds.
Next loss was at Tennessee. The Titans, as it turned out, were one of the best teams in the NFL down the stretch. Before the Colts, the Titans almost beat the Ravens (a one point loss), then they beat the Eagles, Giants, Colts, Texans, Jags and Bills before losing to the Pats in their final game. Those are just about all playoff teams that the Titans beat. Yet the Colts led that one heading into the 4th quarter as well, only to lose on a 60 yard field goal with 7 seconds left in the game. Hardly any shame in that loss.
Their last loss came at the hands of the Houston Texans who used Ron Dayne to exploit that run defense weakness to the tune of 153 yards rushing, yet still, the game was competitive with the Colts losing by just a field goal as time expired.
But how about their quality wins? Surely all these teams that the Colts beat knew that all they had to do was run the ball and exploit that weak run defense, no? The Colts somehow managed to go on the road and beat the Giants, Jets, Broncos and Patriots. Three playoff teams and one that "almost" got in. In their home games, they blew out Houston by 19. Beat the Jags by a TD. Blew out the Skins. Smashed the Eagles by 24. Handled a good Bengals team 34-16. Throw in a couple of one point wins over the Titans and Bills and close out the year against the Dolphins in a game where they had a 2 touchdown lead with 3 minutes to go. So much for the theory of "run the ball - beat the Colts".
It ain't that easy folks. If it were, we'd all be in line to be the next offensive coordinators for any number of NFL teams. Let the sports writers, radio jocks and TV commentators fill their space and air time with chatter about the Colts and their run defense going up against Larry Johnson. You'll be so sick of that story by game time you'll be looking for a barf bag instead of the remote. The bottom line with that story is that it didn't work for 12 other teams and barely worked for three others. The Chiefs will need to come up with more than Larry Johnson to win this one.
Instead let's focus on a Colts team that has given up the 2nd least passing yards per game. A team that is near the top of the league in turnover ratio at +7. A team that has one of the best QB's this game has ever seen going up against a Chiefs passing defense that ranks near the bottom of the league. A Colts team that has beaten plenty of good football teams this year, many by double digits, in spite of the fact that their run defense is less than adequate. Lastly, a Colts team that's undefeated at home, winning by an average score of 30-19 (Chiefs road average is 17-21).
Larry Johnson better run fast if he plans on scoring enough to keep up with Manning and company. This one goes to the Colts.
OUR PICK - COLTS -6.5 (3*)