One of the most intriguing match-ups of the divisional round weekend has to be the Pittsburgh Steelers heading to Kansas City to battle the Chiefs. This game was initially slated to be an early afternoon tilt, but an ice storm forced the NFL to reschedule. Conditions should be fine for kickoff at 8:30. Of course, the winner from this game will earn the right to go to New England and take on Tom Brady and the Patriots. Both the Steelers and Chiefs had impressive seasons and enter this contest both riding waves of real momentum. Can that carry over for an AFC Championship berth? It’ll be a great game, and we’ve got you covered. Read on below for a full game breakdown and analysis for this big match-up.
Steelers vs. Chiefs Betting Odds:
Pittsburgh Steelers +2.5 (+100)
@ Kansas City Chiefs -2.5 (-120)
Over 45 (-115)
Under 45 (-105)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Steelers vs. Chiefs Pick:
All the way back in Week 4, the Steelers obliterated the Chiefs. And while I don’t think this match-up on Sunday will be like that one, the things that Pittsburgh does well have the tendency to give Kansas City some real fits. Ben Roethlisberger torched a vulnerable secondary, and though the Chiefs have fixed some of their flaws in this area, Kansas City still really has nobody that can effectively stop or even limit Antonio Brown.
On the ground, the Chiefs really were weak with their run defence all season long. This is great news for Le’Veon Bell who should again be a huge factor on Sunday. Losing Derrick Johnson has been tough for the Chiefs, and after seeing what Bell did last week vs. Miami, K.C. should be expecting the same gloomy fate. Now there is some uncertainty and skepticism over Roethlisberger’s health entering this contest. He’s been seen in a walking boot and even though he likely isn’t 100 percent, it’s the playoffs and Big Ben is as tough as they come. He’s also smart enough to realize this Steelers’ offense is blessed with big weapons and if he can just get the ball quickly into their hands, that’s all he’ll have to do for a favourable outcome in Kansas City.
Alex Smith on the other hand is perfectly healthy, but is likely still a couple notches below Roethlisberger. Smith is a decent game manager, but that’s pretty much it. He can’t succeed well in shootout-type of football games, and that’s what I expect Sunday evening to turn into. The Chiefs have also struggled of late in pass protection, and that’s also not going to bode well for Smith. James Harrison and Stephon Tuitt can’t be blocked by anybody on the Chiefs’ offensive line, and that’s a big factor heading into this game. Last week, Pittsburgh was also very good at bottling up Jay Ajayi of Miami, so don’t expect much from the Chiefs in their running game. The Steelers have made some big improvements of late with their defensive play, and look for that to pay real dividends on Sunday evening. Moving the chains will be hard for the Chiefs in this one.
While Pittsburgh opened up as rightful favourites, I feel that the market has over-reacted to this Roethlisberger walking boot appearance. The Steelers are loaded with talent and Roethlisberger is just a piece of that. He plays behind a great offensive line that will offer up solid protection and leads the better overall team. Ultimately look for Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell to take full advantage of their decisive mismatches, and will their team to a tight road victory. The Steelers can be the best team in football when they’re at their best, and look for that to ring true on Sunday.
PICK = Steelers +2.5 (+100)