(Reuters) - Indianapolis’s stunning season turnaround will face its stiffest test yet when the Colts travel to Kansas City to battle the top-seeded Chiefs next Saturday in the AFC divisional playoffs.
The Colts’ season looked all but done after starting 1-5 but have since won 10 of their last 11, including a 21-7 victory over the Texans in their wildcard showdown in Houston on Saturday.
Behind the excellent play of quarterback Andrew Luck, who missed all of last season while recovering from a shoulder injury, the Colts are riding a hot streak into the playoffs.
But they will face a well-rested and high-powered Chiefs offense which led the NFL in scoring this season behind breakout star quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Mahomes, 23, is likely to hoist the league MVP trophy after throwing 50 touchdowns and leading Kansas City to an AFC best 12-4 record in his second season but his composure will be put to the test in his first career playoff start on Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium.
Dallas beat visiting Seattle 24-22 in the other wildcard matchup on Saturday thanks to the solid all-around play of quarterback Dak Prescott and a stout defense that held the Seahawks to less than 300 yards.
The Cowboys will next travel to face either the Los Angeles Rams or the New Orleans Saints depending on the outcome of the Philadelphia Eagles NFC wildcard game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
In Sunday’s other wildcard game, the Los Angeles Chargers face the Ravens in Baltimore for a chance to play the New England Patriots in the AFC divisional round.
Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Peter Rutherford