Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts
Time: NOON (CT), CBS
Spread: KC -2.5
Betting odds c/o 5dimes
The 4-2 Kansas City Chiefs have won two-straight games and will look to extend that streak this week when it travels to Indianapolis to face the Colts as 2.5 point favorites according to NFL oddsmakers at 5dimes. The game will air at Noon (Central time) on CBS and the over/under is set at 50 points.
Last week the Chiefs defeated New Orleans 27-21 on the strength of Alex Smith’s efficiency. Smith threw 17 of 24 for 214 yards and two TDs while not throwing any interceptions nor incurring any sacks. His passer rating was 126.0 and his top receiving target Spencer Ware had a big day. Ware had 17 carries for 77 yards and two catches for 54 yards and a TD, catching both his targeted passes including a 46-yard pass.
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Jeremy Maclin also caught four passes for 40 yards, while Tyreek Hill contributed one 38-yard TD catch, his only contribution. The Chiefs got just 112 rushing yards, but 77 came from Ware and he is having a fine season in his 3rd year in the NFL. Last year, Ware attempted just 72 rushes in 11 games, going for 403 yards on the season.
This year he has more yards in about half as many games, and appears to be really hitting stride. Last season he caught just six passes all year, but has already caught 15 this year and is good for 19.0 yards per attempt while having recorded nine first downs. Ware has helped KC be better than expected, but it will have to get through the Colts on the road to really turn this into an interesting season in improving to 5-2 potentially.
Smith has also been very good at QB. He has thrown for 1,511 yards at a 67.8 percent clip with seven TDs and two INTs on the year. The 14 sacks incurred are problematic, and his passer rating hovers at just 95.0 partly due to that. Even so, the Chiefs have four receivers with 200 yards or more on the year (including Ware out of the backfield).
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Maclin has caught for 333 yards on 27 catches with a TD, and Hill leads the team in receiving TDs with three (and a total of 125 yards on 14 catches). The Chiefs really rely so heavily on Ware, though, given he has about 60 percent of the team’s carries. The Chiefs are not really getting much production outside of Ware, though Charcandrick West has rushed for 87 yards on 19 attempts and has two runs for over 20-yards.
The Chiefs have to find a way to get him involved more, but Smith also has to be a bigger threat somehow. He has rushed for 22 yards on 17 carries and is not much of a threat running the football. The Chiefs accordingly are a somewhat predictable offensive team and rank middle-of-the pack in team scoring (22.7 points, No. 18) while having mediocre pass and rush offenses (No. 21 and No. 18 in the NFL).
The Chiefs have shined defensively, allowing just 20.5 points per game and ranking No. 11, and that is what has kept the team relatively successful thus far. The Chiefs have allowed more than 20 points in three of its six games, though, so consistency is yet to be developed.
Veteran quarterback Drew Brees threw 37 of 48 last week for 367 yards and three TDs, and if not for the Chiefs executing several small factors better, the game easily could have gone the other way, especially with the Saints having 137 more total yards in the contest.
The Colts are 3-4 on the season and 2-1 at home this year where it will host the Chiefs. The Colts have won three of its last five games and rank No. 4 in the league in scoring, averaging 27.7 points per game. The defense has been lackluster, however, allowing 28.6 points per game and ranking fourth-worst in the league.
Indianapolis is a team built around the pass and the arm of Andrew Luck. Luck has thrown for 2,074 yards with a 64.9 percent completion ratio, but his yards per pass is just 7.5 this season. Luck has also thrown four interceptions and been sacked 25 times, though he has 14 TDs and a passer rating of 98.3 still.
Luck has had good success rushing the football, but he is not attempting it often. He has attempted just 27 rushes through seven games, but he is good for a team-high 5.5 yards per attempt when he does and he has a rushing TD and two runs over 20-yards on the season. He is battling a couple nagging injuries to his shoulder and ankle, but it is not expected to affect his availability.
Problematic is Luck’s (lone) fumble, but the sample size is small and that can be cut down on.
Frank Gore has 495 yards on 117 carries with a 4.2 yard per carry average (with a fumble to his name as well), but he is not a big play maker and has just one run over 20 yards on the season.
Gore has two rushing TDs and he has caught 20 passes for 94 yards on the season, including two passing TDs.
The Colts have 14 passing TDs on the season compared to just seven via the rush, but this is a team constructed to do just that with six good passing options and really just one workhorse back.