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Chiefs, Colts figure to light it up again

Tell the punters they can take today off in the RCA Dome.

Last time the Kansas City Chiefs and the Indianapolis Colts met in the postseason, in the 2003 AFC divisional-round playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium, neither team punted.

The teams combined for 842 yards in offense as Indianapolis prevailed, 37-31. The Colts scored on six of eight possessions, failing only on the last possession of the first half and their last possession of the game, when they ate up all but the final 8 seconds. The Chiefs scored on five of seven possessions, failing only when they missed a field goal and when they fumbled for the game's only turnover.

Two seasons ago, the Chiefs beat the Colts, 45-35, at Arrowhead.

Expect more of the same today in an intriguing matchup that pits Peyton Manning against a former New England nemesis, cornerback Ty Law. Also, a league-worst Indianapolis run defense goes against K.C.'s Larry Johnson, the NFL's second-leading rusher.

The AFC battle is half of a wild-card double-header. The other half features Dallas at Seattle.

Dallas lost three of its final four to lose the NFC East and a first-round home game. Seattle, the defending NFC champion, ended a three-game losing streak with a 23-7 win at Tampa Bay in its finale.

The Cowboys' season has been clouded by the controversial adventures of wide receiver Terrell Owens. The Seahawks' season has been darkened by injuries, particularly to star running back Shaun Alexander, who set an NFL touchdown record with 28 scores in 2005. A foot injury kept Alexander out of six games, and he finished with only seven TDs and 896 rushing yards. The Seahawks also were missing quarterback Matt Hasselbeck for four games with a knee injury. Seattle went 2-2 without Hasselbeck.

The hero of the Dallas season was quarterback Tony Romo, who replaced Drew Bledsoe as the starter in the seventh game and directed coach Bill Parcells' team to a 6-4 mark.

Winners of today's games move on to a road game against a division champion that drew a bye this week.

Chiefs (9-7) at Colts (12-4)

TV: Ch. 2, 4:30 p.m.

The line: Colts (-7 1/2 )

The scoop: Indianapolis finished last in the league with a rushing yield of 173.0 yards per game. The Colts were outgained on the ground by a whopping 1,006 yards. Injuries on the defensive line, weakness at linebacker and injuries to safeties Bob Sanders and Mike Doss contributed to the problem. Sanders practiced during the week and probably will return to his strong safety position today.

Peyton Manning had one of his best seasons and, as usual, he took care of the ball -- only two lost fumbles in nine full seasons as a starting quarterback. He threw only nine interceptions compared to 31 TD passes and was sacked only 14 times. He ran for a career-best four TDs. Twelve of his TD passes went to WR Marvin Harrison, the No. 2 receiver in the AFC, and nine went to Reggie Wayne, the No. 3 receiver in the AFC. Indy led the AFC with 379.4 yards total offense per game. . . . The Colts had only 25 sacks, 5 1/2 by Dwight Freeney.

Johnson of the Chiefs set an NFL record with 416 rushing attempts and gained 1,789 yards, second to San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson. He had 11 100-yard rushing games. . . . Injured quarterback Trent Green returned to the starting job despite the fact backup Damon Huard had thrown for 11 TDs with just one interception in leading the Chiefs to a 5-3 record. Green missed a day of practice this week with an ankle injury.

Outlook: Even though K.C. is a decent road team, the Colts should light up the scoreboard and move on to Baltimore with a 33-20 victory.


Cowboys (9-7) at Seahawks (9-7)

TV: Ch. 2, 8 p.m.

The line: Seahawks (-3)

The scoop: The last five Dallas opponents averaged 293 yards passing. The last four opponents averaged 34 points a game. Opponents converted on 52 percent of third downs in the Cowboys' last eight games. . . . The Seahawks will attack that defense with an offense that has gained 300 yards or more in 10 of 16 games, including the last four. Seattle has a talented receiving corps led by Darrell Jackson (63 catches, 15.2 average, 10 TDs), former Patriot Deion Branch (53-13.7), and D.J. Hackett (45-13.6). . . . Seahawks have only nine rushing TDs, 20 fewer than last year.

Seattle CB Kelly Herndon was lost last week with a broken ankle and CB Marcus Trufant was listed as questionable with an ankle injury. . . . Romo has thrown for only six TDS with eight INTs in the last five games.

The Dallas receivers have big-play ability. Owens caught 85 balls for a 13.9 average and 13 TDs. Terry Glenn averaged 15.0 yards with 70 receptions and tight end Jason Witten had 64 catches for 11.8 yards. Third receiver Patrick Crayton averaged 14.5 yards.

Outlook: If Romo can handle the pressure and crowd noise he can keep the Cowboys close. Dallas, 30-27.


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