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Prediction: Chiefs 31, Colts 27

12/20/2013

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Today’s game against the Indianapolis Colts at Arrowhead Stadium comes along at an excellent time for the Kansas City Chiefs. They can still win the AFC West championship, so they have some tangible goals in play.

More likely, the Chiefs are headed to the playoffs as a wild-card team, and the main thing they can accomplish over the final two regular-season games is to build some momentum for the postseason.

The 9-5 Colts are the perfect opponent for the situation. They, too, are headed for the playoffs after having clinched the AFC South championship.

The Chiefs have steamrolled inferior opponents the past couple of weeks to bury their three-game losing streak. Now it’s time for them to show some good things against a team more on their own level.

The Chiefs have scored 11 offensive touchdowns over the past two games, and some of that is a testament to how lousy the Washington Redskins and Oakland Raiders are.

But the Chiefs’ offensive progress can’t be denied. The Chiefs also scored 38 points a couple of weeks earlier against the San Diego Chargers. The offensive line is playing better, Jamaal Charles has been unstoppable, and Alex Smith is completing a higher percentage of his passes and doing a much better of getting his passes down the field.

The Colts have allowed 40 or more points in each of their past two road games, so the Chiefs should score some points today. The bigger issue is whether they can hold down the Indianapolis offense.

The Chiefs have allowed more than 425 yards in five of their past six games, and more than 30 points in three of their past four. Never was that more disturbing than last week against Oakland, where it took seven turnovers before the Chiefs could finally extinguish the Raiders.

They shouldn’t count on being able to take the ball away from the Colts on any kind of consistent basis. The Colts have committed just 14 turnovers, tied with the Chiefs for lowest in the league.

Quarterback Andrew Luck doesn’t have a ton at his disposal. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and tight end Coby Fleener are having nice seasons, though Hilton has an injured shoulder and might not play. The Colts’ best receiver, Reggie Wayne, is out for the season with an injury while Trent Richardson, who gets most of the work as the featured back, has been unproductive.

Injuries and a lack of playmakers didn’t prevent the Raiders from scoring plenty of points against the Chiefs, and probably won’t prevent the Colts from doing so, either.

But the Chiefs suddenly have an offense they can count on to outscore an opponent. It will happen again today.

Prediction: Chiefs 31, Colts 27.