INDIANAPOLIS -- Throwing out the season-ending game because of its unusual circumstances, the one Kansas City Chiefs game that stood out from the others happened two weeks ago against the Indianapolis Colts.
The Chiefs, who led the league in turnover differential, were minus-four that day. Quarterback Alex Smith, who committed 10 turnovers all season, was good for three of them against the Colts. The Chiefs missed a season-high 17 tackles. They had a couple of blown coverages, one resulting in a touchdown.
There’s nothing to prove those things won’t happen again in Saturday’s wild-card round playoff rematch against the Colts. And if they do, look for this year’s playoffs to be a quick, one-and-done experience for the Chiefs.
But it would be unusual, like lightning striking the same place twice, if they all happened against the Colts again. I’m expecting the Chiefs to be more like themselves at Lucas Oil Stadium.
If they are, this game is a toss-up. Unless turnovers or big plays tip the game toward one team or the other, this game is difficult to call.
It’s not difficult to see the Chiefs playing better than they did the first time around against the Indianapolis. They will get the ball more to Jamaal Charles -- there’s another thing you can count on -- and that should also help them avoid the many third-and-long situations they were faced with. The Chiefs ran only 53 plays against the Colts last time while Indianapolis had 72.
That kind of imbalance for a team without a great deal of offensive firepower will also be tough to overcome.
The Chiefs have much to clean up from their last game with the Colts. But as their first 14 games of the season showed, they are certainly capable of doing that.
They won’t have to be perfect in order to win today. They just have to be better. There’s enough evidence from the rest of their season to say they will be.
Prediction: Chiefs 24, Colts 20.