AFC Wildcard Weekend-Saturday

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The Denver Broncos, along with the New England Patriots, will sit home this weekend and await the outcome of the two AFC games being played to see which opponent they will compete with next week in the Divisional round of the 2013 NFL Playoffs.

Winners in the Wild Card round have won the Super Bowl nine times, including each of the past three seasons. At least one Super Bowl participant in seven of the past eight years played a Wild Card game.

The Baltimore Ravens won four playoff games last year to win Super Bowl XLVII. In 2011, the NFC No. 4 seed New York Giants claimed four playoff victories to win their 2nd championship in five seasons. In 2010, the Green Bay Packers won four playoff games to become the second No. 6 seed to win a Super Bowl, defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.

And of course, in 1997, the Broncos swept four games and defeated the Green Bay Packers 31-21 in Super Bowl XXXII for their first of two Super Bowl wins.

Here is the pertinent Saturday matchup

Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) at Indianapolis Colts (11-5)

Kickoff: 2:35 p.m. MST on NBC

The Colts are favored by 2 points.

The Chiefs started the season winning 9 straight games before coming out of their Bye and losing to Denver in Week 11. They went 2-4 for the remainder of the season, mostly due to injuries to their pass rush. Justin Houston, their best pass rusher, missed the last 4 games and Tamba Hali didn’t play in Week 17’s loss to the San Diego Chargers. Under new coach Andy Reid and game-managing QB Alex Smith, Kansas City has become relevant again after a 20 year drought. The last time the Chiefs had a postseason win came in the 1993 Divisional Playoffs with a 28-20 victory against the Oilers in Houston.

Indy carries a 12-8 regular season edge and a 3-0 advantage in the postseason series against Kansas City, though it’s true that those Colt teams were led by Peyton Manning. They did beat both favorites to meet in the Super Bowl this season–the Seahawks in Week 5 and Denver in Week 7. The Colts also whipped the Chiefs during Week 16′s meeting in Kansas City and went 6-3 in the second half of the season.

 

OFFENSE               CHIEFS               COLTS

Points……………..26.9 (6th)…………24.4 (14th)

Total Yards……..337.2 (21st)………341.8 (15th)

Pass Yards……….208.8 (25th)…….232.8 (17th)

Rush Yards………128.5 (10th)…….108.9 (21st)

 

DEFENSE             CHIEFS               COLTS

Points……………..19.1 (6th)…………21.0 (9th)

Total Yards……..367.8 (24th)……..357.1 (20th)

Pass Yards……….247.6 (26th)…….231.9 (13th)

Rush Yards……..120.2 (22nd)……..125.1 (26th)

The Final DVOA Ratings from Football Outsiders

                       Chiefs    Colts

Overall……….9th……..21st

Offense………15th…….13th

Defense………9th……..16th

Sp. Teams……1st……..17th

The Colts Offense is headed up by QB Andrew Luck. They also have RB Trent Richardson, who they pried away from the Browns for draft picks. On the Kansas City side, the Offense is driven by RB Jamaal Charles. For me, this game rides on both Offensive Lines. The Colts have Robert Mathis, who must be accounted for as a premier pass rusher. On the Chiefs side, Justin Houston, who should be healthy and Tamba Hali are as good a set of bookend Outside Linebackers as any in the league.

If I’m betting, I’d put my money on the Colts to win by 3 and thus covering the spread.

However, the result of the Chargers-Bengals game on Sunday will determine next week’s opponents. If the Chargers win, they will come to Denver and if the Bengals win, they in turn will go to New England, no matter what happens in Saturday’s contest.

 

Go Broncos!

– Kaptain Kirk

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