The Pregame: Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts


December 15, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) celebrates after scoring a 71-yard touchdown during the third quarter against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


Time: 3:35


Radio: 101.1 FM KCFX

History: Colts lead the series 12-8. Chiefs are 0-3 all-time against the Colts in the playoffs.



1. Jamaal Charles

Charles averaged 8.2 yards per carry against the Colts in week 16, but had only 13 carries for the game and six touches in the second half. One would think this would be rectified this week given the stakes involved.

2. Justin Houston and Tamba Hali

KC was at their best defensively when they could get an effective pass rush by just sending four guys: Hali, Houston, Dontari Poe, and Mike DeVito. But when Houston went down, everything changed. Teams were able to double up Hali and Poe and force the Chiefs to find new ways to bring pressure. With Houston back, hopefully that means the return of the great defense we saw for half the season.

3. Crossing Routes and Tackling

Terez Paylor pointed out on Twitter this week that the Chiefs missed 17 tackles in the first matchup with the Colts. Their season average per game this season was six. Tackle somebody, please.

Many of those missed tackles came on crossing route patterns that have been eating the Chiefs alive since Justin Houston went down. With Houston back to help the pass rush (hopefully), this should allow KC to leave more men in coverage and take away some of those routes. If the pass rush isn’t there then the Chiefs are in trouble.


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1. Robert Mathis

Mathis was a nuisance in the first game at Arrowhead. It seemed no one could contain him or keep him from pressuring Alex Smith. The result was a discombobulation that caused the Chiefs to have one of their worst performances of the season. KC cannot let this be repeated.

2. Turnovers

There were only two games this season where the Chiefs did not force a turnover, and the Indy game was one of them. Meanwhile, the Colts were able to take the ball away four times, twice at or near the red zone. This is simply something that cannot happen again if the Chiefs want to win.

3. Andrew Luck the Runner

One of the more underrated things about Andrew Luck is his ability to get out of the pocket and scramble. Kansas City learned this two weeks ago when Luck was able to escape the pass rush and buy time to find open receivers. He may not be as quick as Alex Smith, but he is definitely athletic. KC has to keep him the pocket and make him make throws before he wants to.