Today's game

Pro Football

January 11, 2004|By Los Angeles Times

AFC divisional playoff

Indianapolis Colts (13-4) at Kansas City Chiefs (13-3)

Time: 1 p.m.

Site: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.

TV: Chs. 13, 9.

Line: Chiefs by 3.

Record vs. spread: Colts 10-6-1. Chiefs 10-6.

Series: Colts lead 9-6.

Last meeting: Colts won, 35-28, on Oct. 25, 2001, at Kansas City.

Story line: After starting the season with nine consecutive victories, Kansas City was 4-3 over the final seven weeks. The Chiefs' main threat is running back Priest Holmes, who established an NFL record with 27 rushing touchdowns. The Colts crushed Denver, 41-10, in a wild-card game at home last week. The playoff victory was a first for Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning. This will be a matchup between the NFL's top two scoring teams.

When the Colts have the ball: Manning may be the focal point of the Colts' offense because of his passing, but the key for them is running back Edgerrin James. The more times James touches the football, the better it is for the Colts, who love to throw to him out of the backfield.

When the Chiefs have the ball: Quarterback Trent Green is one of the NFL's best play-action passers, and his ability to throw downfield is crucial to the Chiefs' offense. Thanks to a dominant offensive line led by guard Will Shields, Kansas City usually does not have problems scoring. The Chiefs count on Holmes' ability to break tackles for extra yards.

Bottom line: The Colts looked great at home last week against the Broncos, but things will be different on the road against the Chiefs, who will ride Holmes.

Injuries

COLTS: Out: TE Dallas Clark (ankle). Questionable: S Cory Bird (leg/shoulder); S Mike Doss (ankle); CB Donald Strickland (knee). Probable: S Idrees Bashir (shoulder/upper arm); CB Nick Harper (low back/thigh); CB Walt Harris (knee); LB Jim Nelson (collarbone); RB Dominic Rhodes (knee/shoulder); WR Brandon Stokley (ankle); LB David Thornton (ankle).

CHIEFS: Doubtful: LB Mike Maslowski (knee). Questionable: LB Monty Beisel (groin). Probable: RB Derrick Blaylock (ankle); LB Fred Jones (foot).

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