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TODAY'S MATCHUPS

NFL Playoffs

January 06, 2007|PETER YOON

KANSAS CITY (9-7)

AT INDIANAPOLIS (12-4)

Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. PST

TV: Channel 4.

Line: Colts by 7.

* Kansas City update: The Chiefs won their final two games of the regular season, then sneaked into the final playoff spot when Tennessee, Cincinnati and Denver all lost season finales at home. They have relied heavily on running back Larry Johnson, who set an NFL record with 416 carries this season and gained a team-record 1,789 yards, second in the league. Kansas City has not won a playoff game since 1994.

* Indianapolis update: The Colts are in their fifth consecutive postseason but come in having lost three of their last five games. They are last in the league against the run, giving up 173 yards rushing per game. Peyton Manning was second in the league with 4,397 yards passing, and the Colts averaged 26.7 points a game, second in the NFL.

* Story line: Manning and the Colts are trying to shed their reputation as postseason underachievers. They are 3-6 in the playoffs since Manning arrived and have made the AFC title game only once. Their defense will face a stiff test against Johnson, one of the NFL's best running backs.

* The pick: Indianapolis. The Colts' offense will match any damage Johnson does to their defense.

**

DALLAS (9-7)

AT SEATTLE (9-7)

Kickoff: 5 p.m.

TV: Channel 4.

Line: Seahawks by 3.

* Dallas update: The Cowboys stumbled down the stretch, losing three of their last four games -- a skid that cost them the NFC East title. Blame a defense that gave up 33 points per game during that span. The Cowboys gave up only 18.1 in their first 12. They are fourth in the league in scoring at 26.6 points per game, but quarterback Tony Romo has six touchdowns and eight interceptions in the last five games.

* Seattle update: The Seahawks enter the playoffs having lost three of their last four games, including their last two at home. Their defense gave up only 903 yards passing in the last five games, but cornerbacks Kelly Herndon and Marcus Trufant are injured. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck had 15 passes intercepted, a career high, despite missing four games because of an injury.

* Story line: Both teams are trying to put late-season struggles behind. The Cowboys haven't won a playoff game since 1996. Seattle won, 13-10, when these teams met last season. They have never met in the playoffs.

* The pick: Dallas. Receivers Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn will exploit the injury-riddled Seahawks secondary.

--PETER YOON

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