The Chiefs enter the playoffs with a bit of a chip on their shoulder. You could argue most teams don’t enter the playoffs with said chip on shoulder due to them having a very good record and having played consistently throughout the year. The Chiefs have both of these qualities, however they have been often scrutinized for having played a soft schedule and playing the below average teams with their 2nd or sometimes 3rd string quarterbacks having to fill in. It’s a decent argument, but if you know me at all, I’ve argued all year the Broncos essentially have played the same opponents as the Chiefs but the media tends to ignore the facts because they get in the way of a good story. I digress. Below is the list of the keys to victory for the Chiefs this Saturday against the Colts.
Stop the run:
It’s cliche, but I believe it’s very important to stop the run to keep the Colts one dimensional. The Colts feature one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL and it’s imperative that the Chiefs have every advantage by being able to pin their ears back and rush Andrew Luck and force him into bad decisions. If the Colts get Donald Brown going, it will put more pressure on an already beleaguered secondary that has given up lots of big plays the second half of the season.
Get Jamaal Charles 25-30 touches:
Charles is the unquestioned MVP of the team and maybe the NFL. He had 19 total touchdowns and average five yards a carry which led to a pro bowl invite. Between rushes and the screen game, the Chiefs need to get him as many as 25-30 touches. Obviously, quarterback Alex Smith needs to get everyone involved, but Charles is a special talent, especially in space and has the kind of game changing speed I’m not sure the Colts can keep up with. Get Charles the ball and good things will happen.
Special teams continue to be special:
The Chiefs’ special teams have been special all year. Between kickoff returner Quintin Demps and pro bowl punt returner Dexter McCluster, the Chiefs have the arsenal to score points in other ways then on offense and defense. Field position is always important in playoff games, especially those that will most likely be close. Getting good returns on punt and kickoffs will be key for the Chiefs to have the upper hand for field position. McCluster had two punt returns for TD’s this year and Demps and Knile Davis each had one on kickoffs. This could be the one big advantage the Chiefs have in this game.
Keep the crown quiet, while limiting turnovers:
One way to keep the home crowd quiet when you’re on the road is to run the ball, chew up yards, and get first downs. When you do this, your o-line gets more confidence and in turn the crowd has a tougher time impacting the opposing team. Also, when you run the ball effectively you limit the chances of a bad turnover or something odd happening, which seems to happen to road teams in hostile environments. When you don’t turn the ball over on the road, you greatly improve your chances of being in the game and of course winning the game.
Overall, these aren’t the only keys the Chiefs need to do to win on Saturday, but if they stay mistake free and do what they did the first half of the season in rushing the passer and running the ball effectively, they will win this game and advance to the divisional round of the playoffs.