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Five Things to Watch on Saturday | Dolphins vs. Chiefs

Here are some notes to know going into the game

The Kansas City Chiefs will look to advance to the Divisional Round of the playoffs for a sixth-straight season on Saturday as they take on the Miami Dolphins to kick off the postseason.

Here are five things to keep in mind heading into game day.

1. Here's a look at the final injury report for both teams.

The Chiefs will be without offensive tackle Wanya Morris (concussion protocol) on Saturday, but they're otherwise relatively healthy. Only wide receivers Justyn Ross (hamstring) and Kadarius Toney (hip/ankle) carry an injury designation into Saturday's game, as both players are listed as "Questionable."

With Morris out, veteran offensive tackle Donovan Smith, who hasn't played since Week 14 due to a neck injury, will likely take over at left tackle – where he started each of the Chiefs' first 12 games – in Morris' stead.

As for the Dolphins, they'll be without All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard on Saturday due to a foot injury. Miami also placed several significant defensive players on Injured Reserve in recent weeks, including edge rusher Bradley Chubb, edge rusher Andrew Van Ginkel and linebacker Jerome Baker. In fact, four of the 11 defensive players who started for Miami against the Chiefs back in Week 9 will be unavailable in this game.

Additionally, Miami listed safety DeShone Elliott (calf), safety Jevon Holland (knees), running back Raheem Mostert (knee/ankle) and wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (ankle) as "Questionable" for Saturday. It's worth noting that all four of those players are considered starters for the Dolphins, so it would be a significant development if any of those four ended up not playing.

2. Slowing down the Dolphins begins with containing their running game.

The Dolphins' passing game garners a lot of attention, and for good reason, but Miami's offense – which finished with the second-most points of any team – begins with its running game.

Miami's primary running back this season has been veteran Raheem Mostert, who led the NFL with 18 rushing touchdowns this year. Mostert also recorded 30 rushes of 10+ yards, which ranked fourth in the league among all players. Mostert is dealing with knee and ankle injuries that will be worth monitoring entering Saturday's game, but Miami also employs one of the league's most dynamic young players in rookie tailback De'Von Achane.

Achane, who didn't play against the Chiefs back in Week 9, racked up 800 rushing yards on just 103 attempts this season, averaging 7.3 yards-per-carry while tallying 22 runs of 10+ yards.

Now, for what it's worth, Miami's running game slowed down in recent weeks. From Week 1 through Week 13, the Dolphins owned the league's No. 2 rushing offense at 143.3 yards-per-game. That number dropped to 117.6 yards-per-game between Week 14 and the end of the regular season, which ranked 14th in the NFL and coincided with a stretch in which Miami lost three of five games.

It's all to say that slowing down Miami's offense begins with containing their running game, and particularly on a frigidly cold night, it's likely that the Dolphins will try to run the ball early and often.

3. Conversely, the Chiefs will aim to establish their rushing attack on Saturday.

With temperatures set to potentially make Saturday's matchup one of the coldest games in NFL history, it's likely that Kansas City will lean on its running game quite a bit. Fortunately, tailback Isiah Pacheco compiled the top statistical game of his career two weeks ago against Cincinnati, rushing for 130 yards on just 18 carries.

Miami was generally quite good against the run this season, but a combination of injuries and other factors led to the Dolphins allowing 288 rushing yards over the last two weeks. The Chiefs will aim to keep that trend going on Saturday.

4. Nobody gets rid of the football faster than Dolphins' quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

The Dolphins' passing attack – which racked up the most yards on average (265.5) of any team this year – is predicated on lightning quick throws from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. In fact, Tagovailoa recorded the fastest average time to throw (2.32 seconds) of any quarterback in the NFL this year, throwing the football in fewer than 2.5 seconds on 62.6 percent of his dropbacks.

Tagovailoa was tremendously effective with those quick throws, too, earning recognition from Pro Football Focus as the league's top quarterback when he gets rid of the ball in fewer than 2.5 seconds. On dropbacks of longer than 2.5 seconds, however, that PFF ranking drops to 12th in the NFL.

The Chiefs did a great job of covering Tagovailoa's first read back in Week 9, forcing him to hold on to the ball for 2.52 seconds on average. Two tenths of a second may not seem like a big deal, but when it comes to a timing, rhythm-based offense like Miami's, they make all of the difference in the world. Kansas City will need to produce a similar effort on Saturday in order to slow down Tagovailoa and the Dolphins' passing game.

5. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes will make the 15th playoff start of his career on Saturday.

Mahomes has started 14 postseason games during his remarkable career, marking the second-most for any quarterback through seven seasons in NFL history. Only Joe Flacco (15) has more, and keep in mind, Mahomes wasn't the Chiefs' full-time starter during his rookie campaign. Additionally, Mahomes is only one victory shy of matching Tom Brady (12) for the most playoff wins through seven seasons in league history.

Mahomes already owns the league record for touchdown passes (35) and passing yards (4,084) in the playoffs through seven career seasons, setting those marks in only five years as the Chiefs' starter.

It's all to say that Mahomes is off to one of the greatest starts for any player in NFL history, and he has an opportunity to add to that resume this Saturday as the Chiefs take on the Dolphins.