Colts vs. Chiefs: 5 Matchups to Watch
The Indianapolis Colts (3-4) and Kansas City Chiefs (4-2) face off this weekend in what should be a very entertaining game. After all, though these two teams are much different now, their playoff game almost three years ago became an instant classic. Both teams have been hampered by injuries throughout this young year, and it has somewhat limited how good they can be up to this point. With that said, let's take a look at five very important matchups for both sides heading into this Sunday.
Colts WR TY Hilton vs. Chiefs CB Marcus Peters
This may not be a matchup that we see a ton of since TY Hilton moves all over the field and Marcus Peters plays primarily on the left side of the defense, but it is still an enticing matchup pitting one of the league's best young corners against one of its most consistent, explosive receivers. Since the start of the 2015 season, Peters leads the NFL in interceptions with 13, plus he has 35 pass breakups to go with it. Hilton is on pace for the best season of his career, on a collision course for 103 receptions for 1,574 yards and 9 touchdowns, and he has shown in the past that he can get take over a game, no matter the cornerback.
Colts OT's Anthony Castonzo and Joe Reitz/Joe Haeg vs. Chiefs OLB's Tamba Hali and Dee Ford
The Colts have been vulnerable on the edges of their offensive line to quality pass-rushers, and that is exactly what the Chiefs possess. They may not have Justin Houston out there right now, but Tamba Hali and Dee Ford know how to get to the quarterback. It is also undetermined just who will be starting at right tackle for the Colts this week. Joe Haeg took over for Joe Reitz at right tackle, but then Haeg moved to left guard last week when Jack Mewhort was out. Now, Mewhort is back, so does Haeg reclaim the starting right tackle spot, or does Reitz go back there again? Regardless, quarterback Andrew Luck is the most-sacked quarterback in the league (25), but Kansas City is tied for last in the league, registering just 8 sacks to this point. The Colts are the worst at giving up sacks, and the Chiefs are the worst at getting them. Something's got to give.
Colts C Ryan Kelly vs. Chiefs NT Dontari Poe
The Colts have done a great job with getting running back Frank Gore going the last few weeks (78.4 YPG, 3 total TD since Week 3), and if they want that to continue against the Chiefs, rookie center Ryan Kelly will need to put up a good performance against the physical freak that is Dontari Poe, plus Poe's teammate, rookie Chris Jones. The two are capable of wrecking opponent's lines, so not only will Kelly and his interior line brethren need to control the line of scrimmage to get the run going, but they need to keep pressure out of Luck's face as well.
Colts ILB's D'Qwell Jackson and Josh McNary vs. Chiefs RB's Spencer Ware and Jamaal Charles
Aside from their lack of a pass rush, the Colts' biggest defensive issue this season has been stopping multi-dimensional running backs, chiefly assigned to the linebackers. Not only is Kansas City's Spencer Ware 11th in the league in rushing yards (492), but he is also third among running backs in the league in receiving yards (285). Overall, he is fifth in the league in yards from scrimmage (777). Aside from D'Qwell Jackson, the Colts' linebacking corps has been a carousel, and not a fun one. Sio Moore started next to Jackson for the first four weeks, but was cut. He shared in a rotation with Josh McNary and Antonio Morrison, and now Edwin Jackson is in the mix as well. The Colts need, need, need to do a decent job against Ware if they are going to win.
Colts CB Vontae Davis vs. Chiefs WR Jeremy Maclin
When Chiefs receiver Jeremy Maclin debuted for the Chiefs last season, he was outstanding. He gave them a true No. 1 threat, something that they had not really had since parts of Dwayne Bowe's tenure there. So far, Maclin is behind last year's pace for receptions, yards and touchdowns, even targets. So, suffice to say, Maclin's season is not going as well as we are used to seeing. Vontae Davis, on the other hand, is having the type of season that we are used to seeing. Opposing No. 1 receivers, who Davis typically covers, average just 5.4 catches (8.8 targets) for 68.8 yards and have scored just 1 touchdown on the season. Maclin has not just up and lost his talent, so even though he may be having a down year so far, this will be a great matchup to keep an eye on.
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