You know how they say when you come to the park you may just see something you’ve never seen before?
Well, how about this? A National Football League Wild Card team hosting a Conference Championship Game.
Never has happened, could likely happen this season … and, in some ways, it would serve to be poetic justice for the Los Angeles Chargers and their star quarterback who has never played in a Super Bowl, Philip Rivers. After all, the Chargers got the fifth seed in the AFC this year with a won/loss record as good as the top seed Kansas City Chiefs.
What would it take for the Chargers to host the AFC Championship Game?
It would take a pair of wins this week by two live underdogs, the Indianapolis Colts and the Chargers. First things first, the Colts play the top seed Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium to kick off the Divisional round of the playoffs on Saturday.
You like the the Chiefs chances?
What if I told you that since the Chiefs won the Super Bowl to complete the 1969 season, and opened Arrowhead Stadium three years later, they have never covered a point spread as a favorite in the playoffs on their home field. It’s true. In fact, the Chiefs have played nine home games since opening Arrowhead Stadium and while winning the first two they played there, over the Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers in 1990 and 1993 respectively, they lost against the point spread in those two matchups. Since then, they have played seven playoff games at Arrowhead, were favored in six of them, and lost them all straight up and against the point spread.
In fact, since winning Super Bowl IV over the Minnesota Vikings in the final year before the American and National Football Leagues merged, the Chiefs are 4 and 16 straight up and 3 and 17 against the point spread in the postseason.
You like their chances against the Colts?
Have you taken this into consideration? Since October, the Chiefs have only twice beaten the point spread and those were in wins over the Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders. While the Chiefs have struggle to beat the spread since October 21st, they have also compiled a straight up record of 7-3, not bad, until you compare it to the Colts over the same time span, which is 10-1.
Who is the underdog in this one?
Oh yeah, a Colts team that has flourished in the second half of the season behind an overachieving defense and the masterful team leadership of quarterback Andrew Luck. Both quarterbacks starting in this game didn’t see much action last year, Luck due to injuries and Patrick Mahomes as he waited his turn behind former Chiefs starter Alex Smith.
Mahomes has had a great season, may even get the Most Valuable Player Award this year, but if you put him up against the veteran leadership of Luck you may find he is out of four leaf clovers for this season. It is worth noting that the Chiefs four losses during the regular season have been suffered against quarterbacks that have more experience at winning that Mahomes, namely Tom Brady, Jared Goff, Philip Rivers and Russell Wilson.
The QB’s he has beaten, don’t belong on that list of great signal callers, and Luck does.
Qoxhi Picks: Indianapolis Colts (+5½) over Kansas CIty Chiefs