The desperate Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Kansas City Sunday night to take on the injury-riddled Chiefs in a game both teams know they must win. Even though it’s a tad optimistic to consider the Chiefs mired in a playoff battle, their record 4-6 record remains decent and a string of victories could put them in the hunt in the wide open AFC West. With Matt Cassel being placed on Injury Reserve, Kansas City had no choice but to turn to the unproven Tyler Palko who looked abysmal last week versus New England. Though they claimed Kyle Orton on waivers this past week, he’ll be unable to suit up against Pittsburgh, and it remains to be seen how this offense plans to move the ball against a very stout Steeler defense. Add in the season-ending injuries to Jamaal Charles, Tony Moeaki, and Eric Berry, and it hasn’t been an easy road for the Chiefs this season. With a reeling, and depleted side being forced to go up against a rested, and incredibly motivated Pittsburgh squad, it could be a long Sunday evening for the home side at Arrowhead.
The Steelers know they need to capitalize on all of the remaining games if they are to overcome the two losses to Baltimore earlier this season. If they want to sit atop the AFC North at season’s end, having a better record than the Ravens is imperative as they’d lose the head-to-head tiebreaker. Match-ups like this are ones they simply need to win in order to get rolling headed into the post-season. The Steelers will be forced to dress a banged up Big Ben Roethlisberger, who will be playing with a fractured thumb on his throwing hand, while key linebacker LaMarr Woodley will likely miss one more game with a lingering hamstring issue.
Steelers vs. Chiefs Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Pittsburgh Steelers -10.5 (-110)
@ Kansas City Chiefs +10.5 (-110)
Over 40 (-110)
Under 40 (-110)
Click here to bet on tonight’s game (10% FREE MONEY BONUS)
Steelers vs. Chiefs Pick:
Without a legitimate quarterback that can command an offense, this is a mismatch of epic proportion. Palko looked terrible last week against a very weak Patriots defense, and going against this Steelers defensive corps will be a monumental task. The Chiefs enter this contest amid a three-game losing streak, and don’t count on this game being the one to reverse that streak. Though they technically remain alive in the AFC West playoff race, a tough schedule, combined with a series of sub-par efforts really puts their chances in jeopardy.
Considering that they’ll be opposing a motivated Pittsburgh team coming off of a bye, it’s hard to not see a blowout coming under the Sunday night lights in Kansas City. Palko led the stagnant Chiefs offense to a mere three points against the Pats defense, and it’d be a victory of sorts if they surpassed that total this week.
Pittsburgh enters this game with the second ranked defense in the NFL and will have no trouble getting to Palko and abusing him on passing downs. Key Chiefs guard Ryan Lilja is expected to miss this clash, meaning easier routes for the hungry Steelers defensive line. This season Pittsburgh has nearly been impossible to run on, which will prove to be bad news for the Chiefs as it’s the one component they’re effective in executing. This should force the game into the unsure hands of Palko, who likely strikes fear into the Chiefs fan base when he drops back to pass. When pressured, expect turnovers from the young quarterback with the Pittsburgh defense the beneficiaries of multiple Chiefs miscues on offense.
This is a business trip for a very focused, veteran-laden Steelers squad. Currently sitting a win behind the Ravens for the division lead, Pittsburgh has absolutely no room for error the rest of the way. An older team with many veterans, they recognize the importance of a first-round bye in the post-season, and Pittsburgh will be driving for that come Sunday evening. Expect the Steelers in a romp.