AFC Divisional Round - Steelers vs. Chiefs
The Pittsburgh Steelers will be on the road against Kansas City to play the Chiefs on Sunday afternoon in this AFC divisional round matchup. The Chiefs will be well rested after their first round bye. The Steelers are coming off a dominant 30-12 victory over the Miami Dolphins in the Wild Card round. The teams matched up in the regular season as the Chiefs traveled to Pittsburgh on Sunday Night Football and were blown out 43-14, so the Chiefs will be seeking a measure of revenge. The forecast thus far looks like a cold, rainy day which is unpredictable football weather and should make an already intriguing game even that much more interesting. The Steelers jumped out to a quick two touchdown lead against the Dolphins both on long touchdown passes to Antonio Brown and never looked back. Running back LeVeon Bell took care of the rest with a Steeler playoff record 167 rushing yards and two touchdowns. In Bell and Brown the Steelers have arguably the best running back and wide receiver in the league. At quarterback 5 time pro bowler and 2 time Superbowl Champion Ben Roethlisberger certainly has the experience and and ability to carry a team deep into the post season. He will be making his 19th career postseason start and is expected to play and be healthy despite being seen in a walking boot after last weeks game. While its somewhat debatable the best players on the Steelers defense may be 38 year old linebacker James Harrsion who had 6.5 sacks over the teams last 9 games. The team will rely heavily on blitz packages featuring Harrison and the rest of the line backing core. The Chiefs won 10 of their last 12 to win the division and earn home field advantage. Questions will always remain about quarterback Alex Smith. Despite consistent regular season performances year after year where he completes at a high percentage and throws interceptions at an historically low rate there will be doubt in the minds of most Steelers fans until he shows he can make plays in the playoffs. The offense features a short passing games that is second to none but struggles when having to throw the ball down the field. Breakout star wide receiver Tyreek Hill has emerged as the team’s top wide receiver, capable of making plays all over the field. Tight End Travis Kelce is amongst the best tight ends in football and the number one Red Zone target of Smith. The Chiefs defense must improve on its regular season 26th ranked rushing defense if they want to stop Bell and the the Steelers rushing attack. The weather could play a huge factor although its tough to say who it will impact in a negative way. The wet field could affect Bells ability to plant and cut back like he does better than anyone in the league. It could also hinder the Chiefs receivers as they run their routes. Whichever team proves capable of handling the conditions and not turn the ball over will likely be the winner.
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