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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
Wildcard Round
January 3, 2007

Saturday, January 6th
Sunday, January 7th
Kansas City at Indianapolis, 4:30 PM New York Jets at New England, 1:00 PM
Dallas at Seattle, 8:00 PM New York Giants at Philadelphia, 4:30 PM

Prediction: KC 17, IND 31

The Chiefs are undoubtedly the happiest team in the playoffs. They needed four things to happen to get here and after they won, they ended up with the final wildcard thanks to an overtime loss by the Bengals, overtime loss by the Broncos and the Titans dropping their first game in seven weeks. Whew! The Colts, conversely, are about the unhappiest team in the playoffs after dropping their last four road games to lose the #1 seed, then the #2 seed, and now have to play this week. But the Colts are 8-0 at home this year and the Chiefs are only 3-5 on the road.

Kansas City Chiefs (9-7)
1 10-23 CIN 10 10-13 @MIA
2 6-9 @DEN 11 17-13 OAK
3 Open Bye 12 19-10 DEN
4 41-0 SF 13 28-31 @CLE
5 23-20 @ARZ 14 10-20 BAL
6 7-45 @PIT 15 9-20 @SD
7 30-27 SD 16 20-9 @OAK
8 35-28 SEA 17 35-30 JAX
9 31-17 @STL - THU SAT
KCC at IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Trent Green 0 0 170
RB Larry Johnson 130,2 10 0
TE Tony Gonzalez 0 50 0
WR Eddie Kennison 0 40 0
WR Samie Parker 0 30 0
WR Dante Hall 0 30 0
PK Lawrence Tynes 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: HC Herman Edwards got a gift when those three other teams all lost last week and his first season in Kansas City resulted in a wild card trip. The problem this week is that the Chiefs play much differently away from Arrowhead Stadium with recent losses in Miami, Cleveland and San Diego before finally getting the freebie in Oakland. The rushing game has been solid this year but the passing game is where this team must come through for a win this week.

Quarterback: So far this season, Trent Green continues to have one shining game back in week 12 against the Browns when he threw for 297 yards and four scores and then almost nothing in any other game. In the four games since that week, Green has only thrown for three scores against six interceptions and has never had more than 185 passing yards. Either Larry Johnson gets it done or the Chiefs lose.

Running Backs: The fears that Larry Johnson would suffer without the same offensive line or head coach this year were unfounded. Johnson ran for 1,789 yards this season and scored 19 times. Were it not for Tomlinson, Johnson would be the uber-stud running back this season. Johnson ran for over 100 yards in nine of his last 11 games and his best effort (172 yards) came in a road game in St. Louis.

Wide Receivers: Eddie Kennison is as good as a wideout gets for the Chiefs but that hasn't been all that good. He's scored five times in 2006 but only had two efforts over 86 yards all year. Kennison turned in a season high 144 yards and one score last week against the visiting Jaguars but only had eight catches for 62 yards combined from the three previous games.

Samie Parker has only one score for 2006 and only once went above 50 yards in a game. Basically there has been four games this season that the wideouts mattered at all and those were always Kennison at home or against a weak secondary.

Tight Ends: Tony Gonzalez has scored five times this season but those came in just three games, In the last four games, he has only averaged about 40 yards per effort and not scored.

Match Against the Defense: No secret here. The Colts have been outstanding against the pass and the Chiefs do not pass well anyway. The Colts are the worst against the run and that is precisely all the Chiefs like to do. Larry Johnson already set the single-season NFL record for carries with 416 this year and he'll try to double that this week. Unless the Colts get a two score lead, the Chiefs will be running on almost every play and even then they won't abandon it since it offers the best chance of a gain.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points KC 30 6 28 2 16 27
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 4 32 1 15 20 4


Indianapolis Colts (12-4)
1 26-21 @NYG 10 17-16 BUF
2 43-24 HOU 11 14-21 @DAL
3 21-14 JAX 12 45-21 PHI
4 31-28 @NYJ 13 17-20 @TEN
5 14-13 TEN 14 17-44 @JAX
6 Open Bye 15 34-16 CIN
7 36-22 WAS 16 24-27 @HOU
8 34-31 @DEN 17 27-22 MIA
9 27-20 @NE - - MON
IND vs KC Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning 0 0 290,3
RB Dominic Rhodes 30 10 0
RB Joseph Addai 60,1 20 0
TE Dallas Clark 0 40 0
WR Marvin Harrison 0 110,2 0
WR Reggie Wayne 0 70,1 0
WR Aaron Moorehead 0 30 0
PK Adam Vinatieri 1 FG 4 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Colts defense has managed to tarnish what stared out as a golden season but the Colts still made the playoffs with no problem and manage to host at least the one home game. But while the defense has lagged, the offense has been very good with Manning and enough rushing game to post over 27 points in most games - at home.

Quarterback: Peyton Manning finished the regular season with 31 touchdown passes to lead the league and his 4,387 passing yards were second only to Drew Brees. Manning has already passed Joe Montana to rank seventh in NFL history for scoring passes with 275. He also ends his third straight season with the NFL's best passer rating (2006 - 101).

Running Backs: The duo of Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes combined for about an average rushing attack this year but since the Colts passing game is one of the best, it's been provided about all that could be expected. Addai ended his first season with 1,081 rushing yards and scored eight times while Rhodes accounted for 641 yards and five scores. Put that together and you get one very good runner. In fantasy terms, it barely one starter since Addai had over half his efforts result in 65 rushing yards or less.

Wide Receivers: Always the strength of this offense, 2006 saw Reggie Wayne jump out to a commanding lead over Marvin Harrison for the first half of the year and then that reversed in the final eight games when Wayne only scored twice while Harrison had eight touchdowns. Wayne hasn't turned in over 100 yards since week 14 while three of the last five games have topped the mark for Harrison.

Tight Ends: The Colts have rarely used the tight ends near the goal line this year and there's only been one touchdown by the position in the last eight games. But Manning likes to use them for around 50 yards or so each week and Dallas Clark is back.

Match Against the Defense: The Chiefs defense may rank around average in all categories, but that is from blending in home and road games. As a visitor, this defense has been much less effective. At home, the defense has allowed only two rushing scores while on the road they have given up eight along with at least 80 rushing yards to the opponent. Look for a solid game from the duo of Addai and Rhodes here with a decent chance for one rushing score.

Manning faces a secondary with the same phenomena and even Cleveland had 293 passing yards and three scores against them. Leinart and Roethlisberger both threw for two scores with good yardage. Expect a very nice game here by Manning who knows this is likely the only home stand on the heels of a season that started to get away from the Colts. It will be imperative to get early scores and prevent the Chiefs from running Johnson 40 times in the game and that should help with Manning's numbers even more. Expect no less than two scores with three possible.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points IND 2 16 2 8 4 29
Preventing Fantasy Points KC 14 15 14 13 19 14