INDIANAPOLIS — The forecast is still a variable, but the liklihood of inclement weather affecting Saturday's AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium appears to be on the rise.
As of Thursday evening, the projection called for three to five inches of snow on Friday night into Saturday morning. Some light flurries could linger until the 4:35 p.m. kickoff, but wind isn't expected to be a factor.
As a team that plays the majority of its games indoors, the Colts aren't often projected to thrive in poor weather. But this season's team is different.
A dominant offensive line and a power running game have been added to complement the usual aerial fireworks.
And there's a line of thinking that suggests Indianapolis (11-6) might actually be better suited to play in the elements than the top-seeded Chiefs (12-4).
Just don't try to sell that to Colts head coach Frank Reich.
“I don’t really think I have talked to the team about (the weather) the whole week,” Reich said. “Somebody asked me early, ‘Well, maybe you guys want bad weather. That would favor you guys because maybe you can run the ball.’ I try to stay in the mindset of whatever the weather is, it’s to the advantage of the best team.
“So I just believe that travels. I believe that’s the way to approach it — that’s always how I have thought about. I literally think whatever the weather is it favors the best team.”
Tight end Eric Ebron played in plenty of inclement weather during his first four years in the league with Detroit, making annual trips to Chicago and Green Bay.
He acknowledged there will be a learning curve for the rookies and other players experiencing the cold for the first time. But it's nothing that can't be overcome.
In fact, the 25-year-old might actually be looking forward to it.
“It will just be cold,” he said. “Once you get past it, once you get out there, the worst is just the TV timeouts. Once that’s over with, you will warm back up. But, other than that, it should be fun.
“Snow, whatever — I love snow games. It’s always fun. I feel like it brings out the little kid in you — the reason why you play football. So it should be fun.”
BLAST FROM THE PAST
Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy stopped by Wednesday's practice and interviewed Reich for a segment that will air during NBC's pregame coverage.
Dungy gave Reich his start in the coaching business as an intern with Indianapolis in 2006, and the current coach asked the former coach to address his team.
“It was great to have him out there,” Reich said. “For me personally, obviously, him being the coach that gave me my first job. His words to the team were just proud of you guys, just have enjoyed watching you, have enjoyed watching you get better the whole year and just keep it going.”
Wide receiver Ryan Grant (toe) was the only player ruled out for Saturday's game.
Defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis (knee) is doubtful, and safety Malik Hooker (foot) and defensive lineman Denico Autry (shoulder) are questionable. Only Autry — who participated on a limited basis — took part in Thursday's practice.
Left tackle Anthony Castonzo (knee), safety Clayton Geathers (knee), wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (ankle), linebacker Darius Leonard (shoulder/ankle) and defensive end Jabaal Sheard (knee) did not practice Thursday. But all are expected to play against the Chiefs.