12 Things to Watch For in Sunday's Colts/Chiefs Game
It's not a fat joke, ok? Andy Reid looks like a walrus. I can't help that.
Last week, the Colts returned to the winner's circle with a convincing win over the Houston Texans. With just two weeks to go, Indy faces their last big test before the playoffs. They visit Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs in what is likely a playoff preview. Here's everything you need to know about the game.
1. Watch for the irony. If the Colts beat the Chiefs the odds go way up that the Colts don't have to play the Chiefs in the playoffs in two weeks. Then again, if the Colts beat the Chiefs, they should be thrilled to play them again in the playoffs because they know they can beat them. But if the Colts lose to ensure the matchup with the Chiefs, they'll also lose the impetus to play them. Trippy man.
2. Watch for the hot hand. Andrew Luck is apparently breaking out of his mini-funk. After the injury to Reggie Wayne, Luck had a rough stretch of games, but six touchdowns to just one pick with just one sack over the last two games have things looking up. I had to do a significant rewrite of my piece that compared him to Peyton Manning because his season stats changed so radically over the last 14 days. It's a good sign for the Colts. If Luck catches fire now, anything is possible once the calendar flips to 2014.
3. Watch for the turnaround. Just a year ago, the Colts beat the Chiefs on their home field to clinch a playoff spot. Now Kansas City has gone from the first pick in the draft to a playoff team. Sound familiar? The fact is that it's not that difficult to turn around an NFL team. I still hear the Colts argue from time to time that they are just in the second year of a rebuild as if they get extra credit for that. They don't. If you haven't seriously turned around your team in two and at the most three seasons, it's time accept that the new regime will soon be the old regime. What the Colts and Chiefs have done isn't that rare. Even Jacksonville will be back in another season or two.
4. Watch the most overrated unit in football. The Chiefs defense is a mythical creation born out of the media's need to explain an undefeated record. Back when KC was winning every game, no one wanted to come out and say it was because of the crappy teams they were playing. Instead they invented a myth that the Chiefs had some awesome defensive squad. Over the last five games, KC is giving up 28.8 points a game. To put that in perspective, the Colts have allowed 25.2 (which also sucks). KC is just 10th in DVOA on defense. They are a pretty ok unit. Nothing more.
5. Watch the reason to believe. Don't look now, but the offensive line might be coming together. It's funny how taking Satele out of the equation suddenly has the Colts protectors looking competent. The line hasn't pass blocked well all year, but they've taken far far more crap than they should have. It's not a good unit, but there's plenty of evidence that they are credible run blockers at least. If the offensive line has indeed gelled 16 weeks into the year, there's reason to believe the Colts could make a postseason run.
6. Watch the roller coaster. Vontae Davis continues to alternately great and terrible marks from week to week. In some ways, he's the symbol for the entire club. Davis has some of the best graded games of the year. He was fantastic against Andre Johnson last week, but he was also terrible against him a few weeks before that. Indy as a whole has the most inconsistent defense in football. The offense isn't much better. This is a team that has to put together consecutive solid performances at some point, but it has been since Weeks 4 through 6 that they've played well for more than a game at a time.
7. Watch the focal point. Jamaal Charles has over 1,800 yards from scrimmage and 18 touchdowns with two games left to go. He's averaging 4.8 yards a carry and nearly 50 yards a game in the air. Against the Colts last year, he hung 226 on them. So, yeah. He's gonna be an issue. He's had at least 70 total yards in every game this year and even in his worst rushing game of the season, last week he still posted 195 yards receiving and five touchdowns. Normally, I'd offer up some kind of analysis of how the Colts can stop him, but I'm honestly not certain they can. Hopefully, he'll get tired after a few long runs and have to come out of the game.
8. Watch for the devil you know. Donnie Avery went to the Chiefs and has posted 564 yards on 37 catches with two scores. He has a DVOA of -2.2% and a catch rate of 55%. He's not very good.
Damien Heyward Bey has 29 catches for 309 and a score. His DVOA is an unholy -26.2% with a catch rate of an apocalyptic 45%.
Those numbers are positively Satanic. Avery practically destroyed the Indy offense by himself last year, and Ryan Grigson managed to replace him with someone worse. Wow.
9. Watch for "just pointing it out". Indy is 11-2 against the Chiefs since 1990. They've won six times at Arrowhead in seven games. Three times they've eliminated the Chiefs from the playoffs. One of the only two losses came in the 2011 season. The Colts own Kansas City. I mean, I'm just pointing it out.
10. Watch for the mistaken identity. I'm not totally certain Craig Stadler and Andy Reid aren't the same person. Honestly, if it turned out that Stadler had witnessed a grizzly murder in the clubhouse and was placed in Witsec and developed a second career tutoring Donovan McNabb would you really be surprised. Maybe he got the yips, and went into football. Only now he still gets the shakes inside the five-yard line. He keeps confusing Alex Smith and Justin Leonard. Ok fine. Reid is isn't Stadler. He's really the Kool-Aid man. I was trying to avoid the obvious and you ruined it. Thanks a lot. Jerk.
11. Watch the historic advantage. So the Chiefs have one of the best DVOAs in history on special teams. Most all the value comes on kick and punt returns, so Pat McAfee will have to earn his money this weekend. This is actually one of the reasons I see Indy upsetting KC in the playoffs. You can neutralize that advantage with a good day from your punter. This is another reason to avoid punts, by the way. If the Colts can keep the return game in check, it will go a long way toward evening things out.
12. Watch for the thumping. While I still believe the Colts can beat the Chiefs in the playoffs, I think Kansas City puts an Arizona/Cincinnati style whipping on the Colts. I don't think the Colts can beat a quality team on the road. Chiefs 42 Colts 27.
Hey Nate, I've been struggling with this all season, but I can't figure out which blogger knows less about football, you or Brad Wells. I mean, he's been pretty stupid this year, but I think you've literally been wrong about every game. Please, stop writing about a sport which you clearly know nothing about, as you are a perennial embarassment to our fanbase. You know nothing about the sport other than cherry picking advanced stats. I literally hate you and everything you write. Please die in a fire.
@NateDunlevy This is very great, btw.
"It's not that difficult to turn around an NFL team..." ...assuming you have a competent front office, have an owner who knows how to get out of the front office's way, and aren't under the evil eyes of angry voodoo priestesses or whatever is going on in Buffalo, Cleveland, and Oakland.
Also: Miami, Dallas, Washington, and the Jets are amusing in this regard: squandering what should be natural advantages, and just sort of being the rich man's version of the first category (capable of making the playoffs sometimes, thanks to the aforementioned natural advantages, but otherwise pretty bleak).
If I could trust the defense at all I might disagree with your score prediction, but as it is I don't see how the Colts can pull it out. As long as the OL looks ok and Luck continues to build understanding with his wide outs I'll be happy.
@Bobman1 pointing out a few factual errors: (1) If Andy Reid is a walrus, where are his tusks? (All other walrus similarities stand, however, so maybe he just lost his. The jury is still out, much like his expandable waist band.) (2) If Andrew Luck catches fire, he won't be playing football in January, he'll be in the ICU. And that would suck, on several levels, especially for him. Finally, that's "grisly" murder, not "grizzly" murder, unless it was a brown bear that was being killed. Which is certainly possible, although they no longer roam east of the Rockies. All the rest, unfortunately, makes perfect sense. If McAfee can neutralize returns, I think it's more like a 10 loss in KC and a 3 pt win in Indy. And that's fine--the games that really count start in a few weeks.
For the first time all season, I'm sensing a little optimism from Nate - and that scares me! Hinting at a possible playoff run? Wow. That probably means their is a freight train around the corner. :}
Nate, did you mean dhb was negative 26.2? If so, that is truly amazing. Do you happen to know the worst Dvoa all time for a WR ?
Listen, clown boy, I wrote a huge piece last week about how I expected Indy to beat KC in Indy. I think yesterday's game was a mild upset.
For the record, I picked Indy’s games right ten times and this is the first one I’ve missed since the Rams game. Make a point next time.
And another idiot Dunlevy follower shares his wisdom. Everyone who comments on this site seems to be missing brain cells, so let me lay it out for you in words you might be able to comprehend. KC hasn't beaten a good team all year. The Colts however, have beaten pretty much every good team other than NE this year. This wasn't a hard game to call (hell I called it, I just don't have a blog). You're fucking stupid, and Nate Dunlevy is even fucking dumber than you.
@EconolineVan I was only somewhat surprised that Avery had a DVOA of -19.1% last year. I would have guessed it was higher just based on DHB's horribleness, especially given the higher number of targets that Avery had versus DHB's.
@EconolineVan What's frightening is that DHB had a -28.8 back in 2010. Oddly enough, it rose to +1.7 in '11, but went back down to -5.3 in '12.
Something is really wrong when -26.2% represents an improvement over the past. :-S
@EconolineVanYeah, fixed that. I don't, but he's not the worst this year.
Here's a point: you've been nothing but negative about a team that has exceeded expectations all year. You've consistently dismissed our wins while playing up our losses. You make constant passive aggressive attacks on Ryan Grigson. You sir, are the worst kind of fan imaginable, one who will stop spending money on the team because they don't build in the way you think is ideal. Honestly, the sooner you stop writing about the Colts, the better, because you have nothing to add to the discussion. The sad thing is, you used to be decent, but ever since Grigson came to town you have just gone down the toilet. You're bad at this, please stop.
@therapyneeded@hanksterThis was the weirdest comment of all time. I'm glad this game was so easy to call. I must have been the only one earth that picked KC to win at home. This was a very good game preview and if you read it carefully you'll see the only thing it missed on was the final score. I stand by it.
@therapyneeded@Nate Dunlevy @therapyneeded@Nate Dunlevy I'd love to have a beer or coffe with you. You are clearly angry and I don't get why.
Here's my number: 317-796-8948.
Sit down with me face to face and call me a liar and say these things or shut the hell up and go away.
Man up. You want to rip my humanity and integrity, fine. Do it to my face. You know my name. Text me. We'll meet and you can say this to my face.
@therapyneeded@Nate Dunlevy@therapyneeded@Nate Dunlevy
What Eyes in the Backfield are you talking about with Brown and Ballard? I'm missing some context here.
Does all this boil down to the fact that yo are angry because you've been wrong about Colts running backs? It seems like you are one of the idiots who crapped on DB and like the Richardson deal. Is that your problem? You don't know enough about football to know that was a bad deal from the start, and now you are ashamed because you were wrong?
You do need therapy. Stats are snap shots. There are times where YPC matters and times when it doesn't. The are blunt instruments used for different purposes at different times. I do use them in different ways, and I'd love to have this discussion with you face to face because you are clearly angry about something.
My guess is that you were one of the idiots who LOOOOVED the new philosophy and are mad that it's not really panning out with good football. If so, fine.
I hate it. It ruining the Colts. It's costing them a shot at rings and wasting the early years of Lucks career.
The angle of my seats is amazing by the way. What helps is that I also watch the game film each week too. Any clown can see that Richardson is a disaster. The coaches know it. I've just been point out what the media was too lazy/scared to say.
As for Delone Carter, I have no idea what your point is. He was awful and I said so constantly.
Davis and PFF is hard. I've talked a lot about him. PFF stats in general I've made a point of saying that I don't fully embrace. I'll happily cop to having reservations about them. Especially the grading and some of the weird RB stats.
Why do you call me a liar about watching film? How dare you? Where do you get off?
1.I said I wouldn’t spend more money on this team this year. That meant to travel to Cincy. I just laid out $1,000 to buy playoff tickets, so clearly you mistook my meaning.
2.You can’t honestly think Grigson has had a good year right? Walden, DHB, Toler, Richardson, the entire draft…He has had a disastrous year. One of the worst of any GM in football. It’s a shame because if he wasn’t terrible at his job, this team would be a Super Bowl team right now. It doesn’t take much in the AFC, but he’s ruined a title run with awful signings and a D- draft.
3.Input on to how I’d do things differently? Dude, I’ve been giving that for months. Wake up. I write in a lot of different places. I said repeatedly I would have taken a wideout in the first round, I would have made a run a Welker, I wouldn’t have wasted cash on Walden. Please. Pay attention.
I guess what I'm getting at Nate, is that you're a supreme piece of shit, you have no intellectual integrity at all, and that you should really just stop writing about a sport which you know nothing about. At this point, you're just embarrasing yourself, honestly the only people who take you seriously anymore are doug england and hankster, that's two whole people in the world. You are literally the worst Colts blogger ever, and that's actually a difficult achievement with people like Kravitz and Wells out there.
Hey Nate, Here's a great fucking response to what you've been writing the past two years which isn't even from me. It shows you're an asshat, and it shows you're a fucking charlatan.
Also there's the whole business where he completely changes the value of evidence from arbitrary and useless to stone-cold truth when it suits his purposes but throws it out if it doesn't fit his claims.
For example that eyes in the backfield claims Don Brown put up better receiving numbers than Vick Ballard last season. Except according to DVOA they weren't really all that close and Ballard was better. DVOA is ABSOLUTELY Nate Dunlevy's go-to stat. Yet here, he just ignores that. It's not an over-sight. It just doesn't fit with his narrative so he discards it. Nevermind that Vick Ballard was at least marginally better in every way according to Football Outsiders, Pro Football Focus, and Advanced NFL Stats.
Furthermore, how many times in that one paragraph does he bring up Don Brown's YPC? 2? 3? He's on the record of constantly bashing YPC as not very useful. He brings up his past seasons but ignores that his DVOAs were pretty putrid outside of 2011 and this season.
Now, this is not a commentary on Don Brown. I don't give a shit about him or the Trent Richardson business. The only point here is that there's 0 consistency or integrity to his stance. If you disagree with him on something and there are stats to back him up he'll dig them out. If they don't jibe with his opinion, and they often don't, he'll throw them out completely and just claim to know better than you or that you don't watch tape. He did the same shit about Delone Carter. He does it about Vontae Davis. He'll selectively do it anytime he feels like it. He tweeted a highlight from a ProFootballFocus article that complimented one part of our team and then directly contradicted a part that said Trent Richardson got hit in the backfield basically over half of his carries and the hole was where it was supposed to be less than 20% of the time. After a game where Trent Richardson was basically a non-factor, he goes on the radio and brings him up anyhow.
He also continues to tout his cheap seats as all-22 view. They're fine seats and it's close. I sit one section over actually so I have the same view. But I wouldn't go on and on about it like it makes me some genius. Sitting up there doesn't give you every play in slo-mo. It's not like watching tape, which I believe at this point he flat-out lies about doing. He's just a big pile of douche pure and simple. Anybody that involved in the Colts scene who would give up their season tickets just because of the Trich trade is an asshat.
I'm talking about what you said in the cincy preview, where you said you wouldn't spend money on the team anymore. Best. Fan. Ever. Your deep-seated loyalty could never be questioned (with regards to Chris Polian, the bestest gm ever). The fact that you think grigson has had a terrible year shows your ineptitude. Other than the Richardson trade, he has made this team straight up better from top to bottom. You literally shit all over everything he's done without giving any input on how you would do it differently. You add nothing to discussion, you're just an idiot loser who's trying to out-Wells Brad Wells. Congrats, you finally did it. You're literally worse than Brad Wells at this point.
@therapyneeded@Nate Dunlevy Ah, the true fan. I don't know if you ever listen to Colin Cowherd, but he did an interesting show once on True Fan versus Smart Fan. If you are so inclined as to read it, I've inserted a link to a short quotation of the main idea here: http://8thmaxim.com/site/forum/showthread.php?t=8819. I used to be a True Fan of the Cowboys growing up. Roger Staubach, Tom Landry, all that. When they dumped Landry and Jerry Jones took over, I stayed for a while. I was a True Fan. But after Switzer, and all the string of subpar talent, coaching, and well, General Management, quite frankly, I'd had enough. The Cowboys and the lack of a real effort to field a great team lost me after 20 years of True Fandom. I moved to Indy and have followed the Colts for over a decade. Smart Fan doesn't put up with a regime that won't put out a good product (or at least really try to put out a good product). If I'm going to spend money on jerseys, pajama pants, beer mugs, and coffee cups with team logos on them, the least the team can do is work on putting out a good product. And, part of that is knowing someone is out there providing the contrary opinion - if no one does, some owners won't care - after all, they still will make money off the True Fans.
Sports blogs, like Colts Authority, are great because they offer the alternative opinion, as well as the popular one, occasionally. I think they help keep the process honest. And that doesn't mean people that write for these blogs aren't real fans, although I suspect it does make them Smart Fans. They provide analysis that is different, and is fun to think about and consider. What's so wrong questioning the building of the Colts team (and the supposed run first focus) given all the information out there showing the evolution of the league to a pass-first approach? At least the Colts FO knows there are people out there questioning them and hopefully not giving them a totally free pass.
Despite what I said about Smart Fans and the role of sports blogs in keeping pro teams honest, there is an alternate approach you could take to being dissatisfied with the writing here - you could just not read it. If you don't like Colts Authority, or Stampede Blue, there is always Colts.com. They only talk about how great the Colts are. There is also the Bob Lamey / Chuck Pagano show on 1070 The Fan, in Indy. Every Monday night at 6 PM. They probably even stream on the internet if you don't live local. I can assure you that even if the Colts get blown out by 40 points, that show will search only for positives and not mention anything negative whatsoever. It is a True Fan show. It's not hard to just tune out if you don't like what you read here.
I hope everyone enjoys the holiday season. I've enjoyed Colts Authority even though I don't always agree with everything written here!
1.How have the Colts “consistently exceeded expectations”? They have won 10 (maybe 11 games) instead of the 9 to 10 I thought they’d win. They have some great wins and some terrible losses. Statistically, they are exactly the profile of a 9 win team. They are basically exactly who I thought they’d be.
2.“You sir, are the worst kind of fan imaginable, one who will stop spending money on the team because they don't build in the way you think is ideal.”
What are you even talking about? Are you just making things up now?
As for passive aggressive attacks on Grigson, they aren’t passive at all. I think he’s had a terrible year. Let’s call that aggressive aggressive, shall we? He made some huge, obvious mistakes that cost this team a chance at a title now. It’s been bad year for him. I’ll cop to that.
Let me address the prediction issue, as I have both years.
The first point in today’s Eyes really covers it. I also gave a speech to a local group about it last year. Every year, I go over my predictions to see what I got wrong. The 2011 and 2012 Colts both slightly exceeded my stat projection for them. Profile-wise, I wasn’t far off. However, both teams look to greatly exceed their win totals.
This year, I said they were a 9 to 10 win team. They might win 11. However, their stat profile says they are basically an 8-9 win team. I feel good about that projection. There is a lot of randomness in NFL game outcomes.
What is happening may be the second coming of Peyton. Some guys simply break the Pythagorean rule. They are super rare. There’s only one I know of: Peyton F. Manning.
It could be that Andrew Luck is that guy. Next year, I’ll give Indy an extra win or two in recognition of that.
They are basically exactly what I said they’d be: an improved but flawed team. In the end, they’ll beat my win projection by a game or two, but in fairness I didn’t see Houston’s collapse coming. That’s the extra win.
As for Richardson setting them back three years, here’s what I mean: it takes two to three years for a WR to really be a force. They need that WR now. They can’t get him until 2015 most likely. So instead of trading for Gordon and having a guy now, their big WR target is still several years from becoming a major factor.
That’s what I was getting at.
Anyway, thanks for your kind words. I do appreciate them. I hope this clarifies where I’m coming from. Some of the confusion comes from the fact that I write far far less about the Colts, so my thoughts aren’t always condensed in one place. It makes it harder to follow my logic.
That’s my fault, not yours.
Thanks for the apology. It's accepted. I do appreciate it.
@Nate Dunlevy@therapyneeded@hankster As far as the good on the Colts, I'd say that Freeman is a bright spot and that Fleener has greatly improved this year. The team is likely to end up with the same record against a much tougher schedule than last year, in spite of losing many starters. Yeah, the line is still a toilet, but Cherilus, while overpaid, has been good at the very least, and as far as I know, Donald Thomas doesn't have much of an injury history (one season ender that I could find), so that can't be said to be a bad signing, unlike Toler, Landry, and Bradshaw, who are known to be fairly fragile.Finally, all I can say is that yeah, that was a rough two months of games after the bye, but I think this team has actually been pretty fun to watch since the relegation of DHB to ST. We may just be different kinds of football fans with regards to what we like to watch.
Finally, I want to reiterate my apology. Even though I like many bloggers less than yourself, I used to look up to you and use your writing in arguments and refer people to you. I guess I just feel you've become more close-minded since Peyton left (this could be very wrong, I don't really know how open-minded you were before that). I see your pre-season predictions the last two years, and rather than commend the team for exceeding them, you seem to make excuses for why your prediction was wrong. That made some sense last year, but this year, when we've beaten quite a few quality teams, it seems rather contrived. I dunno, I guess the idyllic picture I had of you fell apart, I got too drunk, and took out a season's worth of frustration in a completely inappropriate way. Again, sorry, and best of wishes to you.
Look, I'll be honest, I had a little too much "Christmas nog" that day and I went waaaaaaaaaaaaaay overboard. I apologize. I understand that you only write what you think is true, and I'll straight up admit that you understand more about football than I do. Unfortunately, although I'd actually enjoy meeting you in person (you were the first and really still only Colts blogger I enjoyed reading on a regular basis), I've recently moved. I do disagree with some of your arguments, but that's beside the point. I don't usually troll on the internet, but when I do, I make a complete ass of myself.
Onto the more salient points though. 1.) I agree with you that the Richardson trade was bad (I said as much in the last post). However, Bill Polian (a man I respect greatly, even if I felt like it was good to get rid of him to save ourselves from his son) said on Mike and Mike that the trade would end up being good if he plays at Joseph Addai's level. Hell, I'd guess we both disagree with that assessment, but if he does improve to such a level next year, I think it would be hard for either of to straight up say Bill is wrong and we are right without considering what we gave up for what we got. Also, I just can't agree that it set the franchise back three years. That seems like massive hyperbole to me, although I'd like to know your reasons for thinking so. 2.) DHB. I think it's pretty obvious that DHB was single-handedly holding back this offense this year. However, the signing itself wasn't nearly as big a problem as not benching him. The signing amounted to a low-risk high potential reward deal, as we don't have to keep him for next year. This is the theme in Grigson's offseason I meant to identify as liking. I think the execution overall was below average, but that just means he needs to improve his evaluation to the level it was last year.
I gave you my number in the other thread. Let's sit down and talk this out. You like what Grigson is doing? Fine. YOu have to understand that I hate it. Despise it. I think the results have been great because of Luck.
I lived through a Jim Mora regime once, so I know what it looks like when a great QB covers up for a crappy coach. I was super pro-Grigson last year, but his work this year has been rough. The Richardson trade alone set this franchise back three years. Not to mention opening the season with DHB at WR. That’s just awful.
The good things to say about the Colts are pretty limited to Luck, Brown and Mathis at this point. I talk about them a lot. The Colts stat profile shows a team that does nothing very well. It’s one of the weirder teams ever.
I’ve gone on record several times that I thought they’d beat KC in KC and could make a playoff run. Find someone else who was talking like that last week.
All I can say is that I’m giving you my honest take on the team. I feel negative about it. I don’t like watching them as they are currently constructed. I’m not ripping them to rip them. Most weeks are painful to watch. That’s how I honestly feel.
I'm trolling because you fed the troll. It might bore you, but I had fun with it yesterday. In the end though, you frustrate me, because I know you aren't stupid, I know you love the Colts, and I know you are a talented writer. Why do you have to be so damn negative with this team? Frankly, I disagree with a lot that the new regime has done: as soon as the TRich trade was announced, I rolled my eyes and thought "Even if this guy makes the pro-bowl, not worth." I didn't like the Landry signing, I didn't like the DHB signing (great, lets sign a worse donnie avery). But, I did like the overall strategy that Grigson took, and this team has pleasantly surprised me this year. Theres just so much damn doom and gloom from you. I agree they have problems, I am worried about the overall approach sometime. But honestly, the results so far have been great, so I ride with it. You don't seem to have anything good to say about the team ever, and you repeat your criticisms ad nauseam. It gets old, and you just seem like a cranky old man when half the teams in the league would straight up trade rosters with us without a second thought.
1. You mistakenly assume the prediction is the important part of a preview piece.2. You are assuming expertise is displayed on a single prediction. You don't honestly believe that, because that's the opinion of morons. So I can only assume you are trolling. Why? That's boring.