KANSAS CITY [url=https://www.coltsfanshop.com/Anthony-Walker-Jersey]https://www.coltsfanshop.com/Anthony-Walker-Jersey[/url] , Mo. 鈥?The Kansas City Chiefs didn't draft Patrick Mahomes merely to make the playoffs.Matt Cassel accomplished that, and quarterbacks Steve Bono, Elvis Grbac, Trent Green and Alex Smith went one better by making it to the divisional round. Smith even won a wild-card game, the first playoff victory by the long-suffering Chiefs since Joe Montana led them to the AFC title game in the 1993 season.No, the Chiefs didn't trade up to select Mahomes just to make the playoffs.They did it to win in the playoffs.Now, Mahomes gets his first chance when the first-year starter leads the AFC West champions against the Colts 鈥?their longtime playoff nemesis 鈥?on Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium.Win and the young All-Pro quarterback has the Chiefs one game away from playing in the Super Bowl. Lose and Mahomes must wait a full year to get another crack at wiping away the stink of all those playoff failures."A playoff run in general would mean a ton to everyone in this community, including us. I know the history," Mahomes said, "but at the same time, we are a different generation."That may be true, but he was on the sideline last season for the latest postseason letdown.Mahomes was given his freshman season to learn the ropes under Smith, who ended a Chiefs streak of eight straight playoff defeats by beating Houston in the wild-card round in January 2016. But they lost the following week at New England to end their playoff run, then lost at home to the Steelers in the divisional round in 2017 and blew a big lead at home against the Titans in the wild-card round a year ago.Three defeats after that rarest of playoff wins.The sting has been even more brutal at Arrowhead Stadium, where the Colts have won just as many playoff games as the Chiefs (two apiece) over the years. Both of the Chiefs' wins were in the wild-card round.They've never won a home playoff game in the divisional round or beyond.Yet if there's any reason to believe that stretch of futility will end Saturday, it just may be the optimistic kid with the big arm and curly Mohawk. Bono, Grbac and the rest never put up the kind of numbers that Mahomes has this season, nor did they engender the same kind of confidence in their teams.Mahomes exudes poise. And the rest of the Chiefs can feel it."It's the way he plays," Chiefs center Mitch Morse said recently. "Not only his talent, which is uncanny, but the way he prepares, the way he conducts himself in the huddle, and then the guy has got a swagger about him that's infectious."There is no denying this is a new experience, though. Mahomes played in only one bowl game in three seasons at Texas Tech, which would be the only thing even remotely close to an NFL playoff game with the entire football world watching."So far I haven't seen anything that's too big for Pat. I'm not even worried about that," coach Andy Reid said Monday, just before the Chiefs resumed practicing following a well-earned week off."He's going to get himself ready, just like he does every week, to play against a good football team," Reid said. "But I don't think he's wired the other way. I'm not predicting anything [url=https://www.coltsfanshop.com]https://www.coltsfanshop.com[/url] , I'm just telling you, matter of fact, how he's wired, how he goes about his business."That doesn't mean Reid hasn't pulled him aside for a few extra chats."Everything is a little faster in the playoffs. That's how things go," Reid said. "At the same time, he has to be himself and continue to lead and play like he has been doing. I don't think he will have a problem with that. I think he understands that. He is wired the right way to handle all of it."Mahomes said he's chatted with Smith about his postseason experience, and he's soaked up what he can from the veterans in his locker room. Defensive back Ron Parker, linebacker Justin Houston and fullback Anthony Sherman are among those who have been part of several postseason letdowns.As they take the field with Mahomes on Saturday, they have a chance to scribble over that history."I mean, we are definitely ready. We know what it's going to take," Mahomes said. "It's going to take a full effort from everyone, every single day, to the game and hopefully on. We know that you have to capitalize on every single play. You can't let one play get you down for the next. The next play is the most important play. We are excited we get the chance to do that."100View Gallery Gallery:View from the sidelines: NFL cheerleaders 2018Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports | Raj Mehta Some juicy rematches highlight wild-card weekend, in which, well, just about any of the eight teams advancing wouldn't be a surprise.Seattle beat Dallas聽early this season, and聽Baltimore handled the Los Angeles Chargers聽late. The Colts and Texans split two games. Only the Eagles and Bears didn't face off."That was a different time of the season," says Seahawks defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., who played for Dallas. "I think we both were at different places in our growth for the season. I think we're both two different teams right now."They're coming off of a win streak and the quarterback and the running back and the receiver and the whole offense is really clicking. It's really challenging for us to get this together, but it's going to be a really good game. They've been effective certainly on the run, they've been effective in the pocket and with his mobility. We have our work cut out for us."All eight teams do in a round with nothing but toss-up games.The action begins with the two AFC South teams meeting in Houston on Saturday afternoon. The scene shifts north and west in Texas to Dallas for the prime-timer between the Seahawks and Cowboys.On Sunday, the Chargers come across the country to Baltimore, then defending champion Philadelphia is at Chicago.Awaiting the results are top seeds Kansas City (AFC) and New Orleans (NFC), plus No. 2s New England (AFC) and the Los Angeles Rams (NFC).Indianapolis (10-6) at Houston (10-6)Way back in the first half of the season, these were struggling squads. Houston lost its first three games before reeling off a nine-game winning streak to surge to the top of the division. Indianapolis was 1-5 and has lost just once since Oct. 14, when it fell to the Jets, of all people."It feels like we've been playing in the postseason for quite a while now and I don't think anybody's approach will change in this locker room," Andrew Luck says. "If you've played five, six, seven years in this league [url=https://www.coltsfanshop.com/customized]Indianapolis Colts Customized Jerseys[/url] , you've overcome something. So there are a lot of folks who have overcome a lot."The Colts don't let any defenders get to their quarterback, a stunning turnaround. Last season, which Luck missed with a right shoulder injury, Indy allowed 56 sacks, most in the league. In 2018 with Luck: 18, an NFL low.Indy also has two sensational rookies in linebacker聽Darius Leonard聽, who had 163 tackles, and guard聽Quenton Nelson聽.Neither team allowed a 100-yard rusher in 2018. Texans聽DE J.J. Watt聽, who along with Luck is a leading contender for Comeback Player of the Year, had an AFC-leading 16 sacks, 25 quarterback hits, 18 tackles for losses and forced a career-high seven fumbles, which tied for most in the NFL."To be able to get back to the top level of the game and know that I still have things to improve on and things that I want to get even better at, it's exciting," Watt says.Seattle (10-6) at Dallas (10-6)The Seahawks' 24-13 win vs. the Cowboys got them back on track on their way to an unexpected playoff berth in a rebuilding year. Seattle's the first team with a 1,000-yard rusher (Chris Carson) and three men with at least 300 yards on the ground since the 2001 Steelers, and led the NFL in rushing. The Seahawks also led the NFL with a plus-15 turnover margin; their 11 giveaways tied for third fewest in league history.But Dallas, which has lost three straight to Seattle, with one touchdown scored in total, was 7-1 at home this season. It also will run the ball first with Ezekiel Elliott."I just think over the course of the early part of the season, we learned a lot," coach Jason Garrett says. "We learned a lot of things from the experiences we're having and I think we've grown. Guys have played more, they've played more together, and I think we've benefited from that."Los Angeles Chargers (12-4) at Baltimore (10-6)Two weeks ago, the visiting Ravens beat LA and moved atop the AFC North, which they then clinched last Sunday. Now comes a redux, and the Chargers will have top running back Melvin Gordon back, a real boost.They will need a balanced offense, with Gordon's running complementing the passing of Philip Rivers, and a defense that can solve the speed and moves of Baltimore's Lamar Jackson. Since Jackson replaced an injured Joe Flacco at quarterback [url=https://www.coltsfanshop.com/t-shirts]Indianapolis Colts T-Shirts[/url] , the Ravens are 6-1. Jackson and fellow rookie Gus Edwards give them a formidable running game to go with the No. 1-ranked defense in yards."They just never let you get comfortable as an offense," Rivers says. "It's always something trying to keep you off-balance. "It's going to be back and forth. There will be times where we pick everything up just right and do everything just right. There will be other times where we're going to have to, again, manage all those things that they do so well."Philadelphia (9-7) at Chicago (12-4)Thirty years ago, they played the聽"Fog Bowl"聽at the old Soldier Field. There isn't a whole lot of clarity about this matchup, either.The Bears, paced by a strong version of the Monsters of the Midway, have been the better team all year. But they are generally playoff newbies, and they face perhaps the most resilient team in the league.Philly has been ravaged by injuries, yet here it is, making big plays on both sides of the ball thanks greatly to the veterans who had such a big role in its roll to the title a year ago: Nick Foles, Zack Ertz, Lane Johnson, Fletcher Cox, Malcolm Jenkins. The Eagles still have to produce on the field, but their credentials are valid."I know how our team has really fought this last month of the season, last six weeks," coach Doug Pederson says. "And it does give you a little comfort knowing that we've kind of went through this grind and we're here now and we have to continue to grind and continue to work."But I don't think it's any easier. It's a different team again. Different set of circumstances. We have to travel. If we're fortunate to win, we have to be on the road again. It feels different, but the excitement is the same."There's no shortage of excitement in Chicago, either. Under first-year coach Matt Nagy, the Bears have moved from last place in the usually difficult NFC North to the top."I would say last year when we were playing good football, even though we had struggles within the team and struggles would be, you know, everything else was going haywire around us," DT Akiem Hicks says, "but we were able to pull together and keep fighting. And there was no quit, and you saw that this year when we got into last minutes of the game and still fighting and coming up with those wins. You could tell that guys have that fight in them."
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