The Indianapolis Colts are facing a great Kansas City Chiefs team this week, and make no mistake about it, Chiefs head coach Andy Ried and the rest of the team remembers what happened last time they came to Lucas Oil Stadium. Yes, the teams have changed quite a bit since then, but there are two big pillars still in place, Chuck Pagano and Reid. One of the bigger takeaways from that game is that Kansas City will have plays drawn up that you haven't seen yet or are opponent-centric. That means the Colts are going to have to play solid defense and likely will have to be very passive to start the game.
Sticking on the defensive side of the ball, the inside linebacker position still continues to be a rollercoaster. Everyone saw this coming into the season, and the lack of athleticism will hurt the Colts this week. Last week, we saw Edwin Jackson see some time at the other linebacker spot and he filled in nicely, finishing with 3 tackles. This was after Josh McNary made a bonehead mistake of crushing tight end Delanie Walker on the Patrick Robinson interception, then he followed that up by allowing Walker to score a touchdown later in the same drive. He showed last week that he can be a liability in coverage, and when there facing a team that has an athletic tight end in Travis Kelce, that will be a big problem.
Speaking of liabilities, the Colts cannot continue the trend of 8.4 penalties per game and 74.9 yards per game in penalties, both have the Colts ranked 29th. The Chiefs are too good of a team to be giving them second and third chances to keep drives alive. By the way, the Chiefs are averaging 22.7 points per game, so it would be wise to get off the field when they can.
A big reason for those points is the emergence of running back Spencer Ware. He's averaging 82 yards per game and is ranked 17th in DVOA by Football Outsiders, and the Colts need to stop the run this week and prevent Kansas City from getting balanced on offense. They have to force quarterback Alex Smith into long third downs, and rally and tackle if he throws short of the sticks. This is a big game for Indianapolis who can close within a game of Houston with a win.
As always, there is news on the injury front, as wide receiver Donte Moncrief has made his return to Colts practice this week sporting a red non-contact jersey. All signs point to him playing this week. However, the news isn't the greatest when it comes to starting left guard Jack Mewhort. He's banged up with a triceps injury, along with Henry Anderson who is battling a knee injury. Those are two big injuries considering how important Mewhort is to the offensive line and Anderson to stuffing the run game.
Finally, the Colts need to continue playing well in the red zone and on offense in general, the game is likely going to come down to Andrew Luck again. He had his best game of the season against the Titans, and right now he's playing like a top five quarterback according to Pro Football Focus. Like every week, the Colts need him to play well if they want to win.
Indianapolis Colts writer for Pro Football Spot....follow me on Twitter: @pimentel_03
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