NFL Divisional Round Preview: Pittsburgh at Kansas City

AP Photo/Jared Wickerham

Divisional Round

#3 Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5) at #2 Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)

Kansas City, Missouri (Arrowhead Stadium)

January 15th, 5:20 PM (PST)

NBC

The game was supposed to kick off at 10 am (PT) on Sunday, but had to be moved to Sunday night because of a snow storm. The weather is going to be cold, but not as terrible as it can get in Kansas City. The game should be in the low 30’s with a good chance of rain.

If it is pouring rain for most of the game, and the field becomes sloppy, then there will be a big advantage for the Chiefs. The rain would make the game revolve around running the football and defense, which gives the advantage to the Chiefs. The weather is something to pay attention to, but I don’t believe it will be the deciding factor if it stays in the 30’s and there isn’t an immense amount of rain.

Pittsburgh’s Offense

The Steelers offense is one of the most dynamic in the league. They have the best trio in the NFL with Ben Roethlisberger, Le’veon Bell, and Antonio Brown and will present a ton of challenges for Kansas City. Kansas City has the talent to stop them, but the Steelers have been playing real good football of late and I think there are too many players to worry about on the Steelers for the Chiefs. Therefore, I’d give the slight advantage to Pittsburgh’s offense over the Chief’s defense.

Kansas City’s Offense

Kansas City’s offense relies a lot on Andy Reid’s impeccable play calling. They have been without their star RB Jamaal Charles for almost the entire year, but still have found a good running game with Spencer Ware. The Chiefs are a capable offense but are limited because of Alex Smith. He will play solid and not turn the football over, but he isn’t going to win playoff games by himself.

The only way the Steelers can get gashed is by Tyreek Hill having a huge day. He has created many issues for other defenses, but Tomlin will make sure to have a good game plan in place to stop Hill.

Tyreek-Hill-Denver

Explosive WR Tyreek Hill with a long touchdown play

Photo Credit: David Eulitt 

I believe the Steelers defense, who has really picked up of late, will do a good job slowing down Kansas City. In their last 8 games, they have only given up 16.6 points per game, instead of their season average of 20.4, which is deflated from their strong 7 game finish to the regular season.

Prediction

In the end, the Steelers have too much on offense to worry about and have their defense (which is considered their weak link) playing good football at the right time. Ben Roethlisberger’s injury must be monitored. If it is truly an issue, which I don’t think it will be, then the cold weather and a gritty Chief’s defense could cause a lot of problems. However, I think the boot on Ben’s foot was just precautionary and won’t lead to any issues tonight. If that holds true, then I think the Steelers will win a close and low-scoring game.

Pittsburgh 24 Kansas City 20

Side Notes:

Roethlisberger’s injury could be a factor if it gets cold making it tough for him to move around. If he isn’t mobile, then a lot of issues will surface trying to run away from the Chief’s dominant pass rush.

The Steelers blew out Kansas City early in the year (43-14), but I don’t think it will have any impact on the game today:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbMAeumZT-E

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