The Kansas City Chiefs can help lock up an AFC playoff spot Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium, but it clearly won’t be their own. The Indianapolis Colts will punch their ticket to the postseason if they can send the Chiefs to their 13th loss of the season.
For the Colts, they not only will be playing with their eyes on a playoff spot, but also the added emotion thanks to the announcement that their head coach, Chuck Pagano, has been cleared by his doctors to return after treatment for cancer.
As for the Chiefs, they are just counting the days until they can put this terrible season to bed. Kansas City was somehow able to pick up a win three weeks ago against the Carolina Panthers just hours after linebacker Jovan Belcher killed himself, but have since lost two straight while scoring just seven points.
Unlike last season when the Kansas City players were fighting to try and get the interim tag removed from Romeo Crennel, there’s no such fight this time around. It’s all but assumed Crennel and GM Scott Pioli will be let go after next week’s game and that inevitability has taken any remaining juice out of these two final meaningless games.
In the 2012 Arrowhead finale for the Chiefs, can their offense score points. That’s right, after being shutout by the Oakland Raiders, it will be a win for Kansas City if they can just put points on the board. Facing a team that can taste a playoff birth, things don’t look good for the Chiefs chances Sunday afternoon.
Here are the three players that will help to determine if the Chiefs can pick up a third victory or get one step closer to locking in the No. 1 overall pick in April’s NFL Draft.
Offense: Dexter McCluster
There’s no shortage of things that fall under the category of “more than how many points the Chiefs have scored” and leading the way could be huge hits taken by Chiefs receivers. Tight end Tony Moeaki was the latest to absorb a couple huge shots and is now likely lost for the season with a possible concussion.
McCluster has not only taken some big time shots, but if you’ll recall he also bounced back from a gruesome elbow injury.
This week the diminutive play makers gets to face a Colts defense that has allowed a 100-yard receiver in a franchise-record seven straight weeks. McCluster had 59 of the Chiefs 139 passing yards last week, so if any one is going to keep Indy’s ugly streak going, it’ll be him.
Defense: Tamba Hali
Rookie Andrew Luck has been awfully impressive this season, but he can be hit thanks to a patchwork offensive line. That means Hali will get another chance to finally deliver the signature performance we have yet to see from him this year.
Hali has just eight sacks, well off his career-high of 14.5 and four short of his total from last season. Look for the linebacker to break out with his first three sack game this season.
Special Teams: Dustin Colquitt
I’ve given up trying to pick who the Chiefs will try and squeeze a respectable return out of. So far this season they’ve come up completely empty and there’s no reason that won’t continue these final two games. So instead we’ll focus on Kansas City’s best special teamer… the punter!
Colquitt has had a fantastic season and needs to keep it up against the Colts if there’s any hope of the Chiefs finding their third win.
This also could be the final time Chiefs fans get a chance to see Colquitt in person. He is a free agent after the season and for some reason they didn’t make a move to lock him up during the season the way the have done in year’s past with some of their younger players.
Maybe owner Clark Hunt is just waiting to use the franchise tag on his punter since it will be the cheapest possible tag he could have to hand out in the offseason.