From the FanPosts -Joel
Home for me is currently a small town right on the Illinois-Indiana border, which means that most of the closest major cities to me are in Indiana -- including Indianapolis. So for this entire year, and in particular these past few weeks, I've heard no shortage of smack talk from my coworkers, friends, neighbors, and pretty much everyone else I see on a regular basis.
What I've heard is run-of-the-mill, "my team is better than yours" type of talk, and that's honestly the extent of it. This is due in part to the fact that Colts fans are among the best in the NFL in my opinion. They are respectful, knowledgeable, and realistic.
But another reason that they haven't crossed over into the arrogant, "your team doesn't stand a chance" type of talk is that their knowledge and realism has brought them to a point where they can and will openly admit that they are nervous about the game on Saturday.
Yes, their favorite team is still led by Andrew Luck -- and yes, that same team did beat the Chiefs badly on their own turf just two weeks ago -- and yet the Colts fans I've talked to couldn't be more nervous about the matchup with the Chiefs. There are four common reasons these fans kept giving me for why they felt this way, and I'd like to look at each one of them.
1. Andy Reid has saved up some inventive play calls
Evidently, Big Red's propensity to script the opening plays of a game -- not to mention his rate of success when he does so -- is well-known throughout the league. The Colts fans I've talked to have mentioned this more than anything else.
They're worried that every drive of the game for the Chiefs is going to be like the opening drives of a game, because Andy Reid is likely to show a number of plays that he hasn't used all year. I would agree with that assessment as a reason to worry, and the numbers seem to back it up as well.
Over the course of the regular season, the Chiefs averaged 7.8 points in the first quarters of their games, trailing only the Broncos, who averaged 8.1 points in first quarters this year. Only San Fransisco (6.1) and Chicago (6.0) are within two points of Denver and Kansas City in that category.
In fact, the Chiefs led the league in first quarter scoring on the road (10.4) which beat every other team by at least 3.5. They also rank third in first quarter TOP with just under 55% in that category.
If inventive play calls can make the whole game like the first quarter for the Chiefs, the Colts have a great deal to be worried about.
2. The Chiefs aren't going to commit four turnovers this time
The Chiefs protect the ball as well as anyone in the league, and in a very simple assessment, most of the Colts fans I've talked to have pointed to the fact that an even turnover differential in the last game probably would have led to a nail-biter.
Honestly, there isn't much to say about this one. If the Chiefs lost by two possessions while losing the turnover battle by four, it only stands to reason that an even turnover battle should result in an even game.
3. The officials mistakes might help the Chiefs this time
Colts fan are all too aware of the impact officials can have on games, especially this year -- so most of them were willing to admit that a number of calls in the last meeting between the two teams went the Colts way.
But the Colts have had more than their fair share of bad calls go against them this year, so they realize that not only was the last game partially swung in their direction by bad calls, but also that this next game could just as easily be swung in the Chiefs favor by bad calls.
4. Justin. Freaking. Houston.
He's back. The Colts didn't have to deal with him last time, and the Chiefs defensive splits with and without Houston show a night-and-day difference.
He's averaged a sack and 4 QB hurries per game this year, and that couldn't be worse news for a Colts team with a patchwork offensive line and only one legitimate deep threat that can beat a defense without the quarterback having all day to throw.
Most of the Colts fans I've spoken with seem to be worried that if the Chiefs double up on T.Y. Hilton and get some pressure on Luck from Houston and Hali, that the Colts will struggle to sustain drives.
This holds up well with what we've seen from the Chiefs defense this year -- if you don't beat them deep on a consistent basis, you don't beat them at all.
I can't wait to see if all of these concerns are proven valid. This Chiefs fan stuck in Colts Land is ready for Saturday to get here already.