Although the Kansas City Chiefs won’t have rookie right tackle Eric Fisher healthy for their Wild Card game tomorrow against the Indianapolis Colts, they’ll have a much more important player healthy. Star pass rusher Justin Houston was always expected to play in tomorrow’s game, and he’s a lock to play now that the Chiefs have only listed him as a probable against the Colts.
The Colts have a solid tackle duo in Anthony Castonzo and Gosder Cherilus, but those two will be pushed to the limits against the league’s best edge rushing duo. Both Tamba Hali and Justin Houston have racked up sacks and pressure at a breath-taking pace this season, and they have certainly fulfilled their potential as an elite source of pressure. Chuck Pagano, Pep Hamilton, Andrew Luck, and the offensive line will all have their hands full, and their best chance of stopping the Chiefs pass rush isn’t really by blocking; it’s by running the football effectively and working the short and intermediate routes to keep any blitzers honest.
Because even if the Colts are able to bottle up both Hali and Houston (that’s definitely hard enough as it is), they will also have to contend with a myriad of potential blitzers. Strong safety Eric Berry is one of the best blitzing safeties in the NFL, and it’s part of the reason why he made the All-Pro team. Derrick Johnson? He’s a very underrated inside linebacker blitzer. The interior pressure is key, because interior pressure affects quarterbacks the most. Worst of all for the Colts in this particular aspect, their interior blocking is very suspect, and Donald Thomas’s season-ending injury early in the year had a very underrated impact on this team.