Unbeaten Chiefs trying to stay hot against winless Colts
The Kansas City Chiefs won two games in five days then got a long weekend to watch everyone else. Now, they’re ready to play — Sunday in Indianapolis. While the Chiefs have lived up to the preseason hype as they chase a fifth straight appearance in the AFC championship game, the Colts have not. They struggled to earn a tie at Houston then were shutout at Jacksonville last weekend. Now they face an even more daunting challenge: trying to jump start their season against one of the league’s hottest and most talented teams.
KANSAS CITY (2-0) at INDIANAPOLIS (0-1-1)
Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT, CBS
OPENING LINE: Chiefs by 6½, according to FanDuel SportsBook.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Kansas City 1-1,; Indianapolis 0-2.
SERIES RECORD: Colts lead 17-10.
LAST MEETING: Colts beat Chiefs 19-3 on Oct. 6, 2019, in Kansas City.
LAST WEEK: Chiefs beat Chargers 27-24; Colts lost at Jaguars 24-0.
CHIEFS OFFENSE: OVERALL (5), RUSH (16), PASS (6), SCORING (3).
CHIEFS DEFENSE: OVERALL (19), RUSH (11), PASS (21), SCORING (19).
COLTS OFFENSE: OVERALL (13), RUSH (12), PASS (10), SCORING (32).
COLTS DEFENSE: OVERALL (11), RUSH (T9), PASS (15), SCORING (17).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Chiefs even; Colts minus-4.
CHIEFS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Patrick Mahomes is always the first player to watch for Kansas City — especially in September. He is 13-2 as a starter with 48 touchdown passes, three interceptions and 12 games of at least three passing TDs in the opening month of the season. He also has 11 300-yard games in September.
COLTS PLAYER TO WATCH: CBs Stephon Gilmore and Kenny Moore II. Indy signed Gilmore, the NFL’s 2019 Defensive Player of the Year, to improve its pass coverage and facing Mahomes is one of the biggest challenges anyone can face. Moore, like Gilmore, is an established leader in the Colts secondary and both need to play their best football to give Indy a chance.
KEY MATCHUP: Chiefs pass rush vs. Colts offensive line. Kansas City overcame a halftime deficit last week by beating up Chargers QB Justin Herbert. They could do it again Sunday against Matt Ryan. Indy’s offensive line has played nowhere near its lofty expectations, already allowing seven sacks and far too much pressure. It’s forced Ryan into four interceptions and five fumbles.
KEY INJURIES: Chiefs K Harrison Butker is questionable after missing Week 2 with an injured left ankle. Matt Ammendola replaced Butker. DE Mike Danna (calf) missed Wednesday’s practice. … The Colts haven’t decided whether three-time All-Pro LB Shaquille Leonard (back surgery) will make his season debut or whether WRs Michael Pittman Jr. (calf) and Alec Pierce (concussion protocol) will return after sitting out last week. Leonard and Pierce missed no time Wednesday while Pittman did limited work. An ankle injury prevented backup LT Bernhard Raimann from practicing Wednesday.
SERIES NOTES: The Colts have won four of the past six and six of the past nine against Kansas City. … Indy is 4-1 all time in playoff games against Kansas City with two of them quite memorable — the Colts’ 28-point comeback in January 2014 and a surprise 23-8 victory in January 2007 at the start of Indy’s Super Bowl title run. … Chiefs coach Andy Reid and Colts general manager Chris Ballard worked together for four seasons in Kansas City.
STATS AND STUFF: The Chiefs have made at least one field goal in 15 straight games. One more will tie the second-longest streak in franchise history. … Mahomes’ only win over the Colts came in a playoff game in January 2019. It was the first of Kansas City’s four straight AFC championship game appearances. … Mahomes needs 414 yards passing over the next five games to become the fastest in NFL history with 19,000. … The Chiefs are 45-1 with Mahomes when holding opponents to fewer than 27 points. … Chiefs TE Travis Kelce needs one game with 100 yards receiving to tie Tony Gonzalez (31) for the second most by a tight end in NFL history and two to tie Rob Gronkowski’s record. … Kelce has caught a pass in 129 straight games, two behind Gonzalez’s franchise mark. … Ryan is making his 225th start and needs one game-winning drive to tie Brett Favre (43) for sixth in league history. … Ryan has moved within 37 pass attempts of surpassing Eli Manning for No. 8 in on the NFL’s career list. … Jonathan Taylor is third in yards rushing (215), needs one TD to top the 200-point mark and one 100-yard game to pass Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (14) for No. 4 on the franchise list. … Indy’s defense leads the league in three-and-outs (eight) and three-and-out rate (32.0 percent). It also is tied for sixth in plays of 20 or more yards allowed (five). … The Colts have allowed the second-fewest 100-yard rushers (six) since 2018.
FANTASY TIP: Mahomes and Taylor should be the obvious go-to players this week — and every week. Those seeking a sneaky play might take the Chiefs defense. If Indy’s line can’t protect Ryan better or open more consistent holes for Taylor, the league’s lowest-scoring offense could be susceptible to more turnovers, more sacks and a lack of points against Kansas City.