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2017 NFL Divisional Playoff

(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

2017 NFL Divisional Playoff Preview: Pittsburgh At Kansas City

The 2017 NFL Divisional round concludes with a game between the Chiefs and Steelers. Read a preview for the game here. (Gregory Shamus Getty Images)

The 2017 Divisional Playoff weekend concludes with a game between the Steelers and Chiefs. Pittsburgh lit up Kansas City 43-14 back in week 4. There are many indications to believe this game will be much closer. This game was originally supposed to take place at 1 ET but was moved back because of icy weather conditions. The 2017 NFL playoffs are officially down to the elite eight. It’s the Steelers vs. the Chiefs! The winner of this one will head to Foxboro to take on the Patriots. Now it’s time to give 3 reasons why each team has a chance to win. What are the keys to the game for each team in order to advance this postseason? For more on the rest of the playoff teams, click here!

11-5 Pittsburgh Steelers At 12-4 Kansas City Chiefs

Sunday, January 15th, 8:20 p.m. ET: NBC

Spread > Steelers +1.5 – Under/Over 45

WHY The Pittsburgh Steelers Will Win:

1. Ben Roethlisberger, Enough Said:

Big Ben put on a show earlier this year against the Chiefs (ESPN)

C’mon Alex Smith can’t seriously beat Ben Roethlisberger in a playoff game, right? Big Ben is a hall of fame quarterback and is still considered one of the best in the game. Roethlisberger will be playing in his 18th career playoff game. You know what you’re going to get with this guy. He has a record of 12-6 in the playoffs which is pretty darn good too when you’re battling Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and a normally tough Ravens crew year after year. The Steelers are winners of 8 games in a row playing their best football at the right time. Roethlisberger, 34, is still in the prime of his career throwing 29 touchdowns and 13 picks on the year.  Ben looks determined to capture his 3rd Super Bowl ring. By the way, Pittsburgh’s offensive line has bee sensational this year. They allowed just 21 sacks all year, second-fewest in the league

2. Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown Will Have Big Games:

This will be the matchup everyone wants to see. The winner could make the difference in the game (Pro Football Focus)

Is there a more explosive duo in the league than these two guys? I think we can all agree that if both of these guys go off like they did against the Dolphins, KC doesn’t have much of a chance to win. Bell rushed for 167 yards and 2 touchdowns. Brown caught 5 passes for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns. Kansas City couldn’t stop these guys in the regular season One would think the Chiefs could slow down Antonio with all-pro corner Marcus Peters but stopping Bell seems like an impossible task. Bell, the NFL leader in all-purpose yards, second in the NFL with 64 missed tackles. Kansas City is 24th in yards allowed but are significantly worse at stopping the run compared to the pass. If Dontari Poe and Chris Jones can’t stop Bell before he gets to the 2nd level of the defense this game is over before it ever begins. Over the course of the season guys like Eli Rogers, Cobi Hamilton, and Ladarius Green have become huge factors in the passing game taking a lot of pressure off of the two superstars. If those complementary players can win the one on one matchups that come their way, the Chiefs don’t have a chance to win.

3. Pittsburgh Has The Much Better Defense:

Defenses win championships. That is the mantra everyone has been told that is an NFL fan. Let’s compare the defensive numbers of each team. KC is 24th in yards allowed while Pittsburgh ranks 12th in yards allowed. Despite having guys like Justin Houston, Dee Ford, and Tamba Hali the Chiefs only have 28 sacks on the entire season (5th worst). The Steelers are 9th in the league in sacks (38) and have gotten a significantly better pass rush late in the season as they limited James Harrison early in the year. Young guys like Sean Davis and Javon Hargrave have given the Steelers a boost in recent weeks. The injury to Derrick Johnson is a huge blow to Kansas City’s defense. Middle linebacker is the least of Pittsburgh’s worries of course when you have the hairless wonder Ryan Shazier.

Read About The Steelers Playoff X-Factor HERE!

WHY The Kansas City Chiefs Will Win:

  1. Andy Reid Is Impossible To Beat Coming Off Byes:

Check this out; Andy Reid is 19-3 playing a game after he has a bye week to prepare. That’s exactly what he has in this game afters securing a first round bye with the 12-4 record. Andy Reid is one of the best coaches in the NFL. No one elevates his quarterbacks like he does. Reid has an 11-11 postseason record but you have to remember a majority of those games were with Donovan McNabb who was vastly overrated. On the opposite sidelines, I have been a firm antagonist of Mike Tomlin. The Steelers head coach is the most overrated coach in the NFL. The Steelers are just 1-4 in the last 5 years in postseason play. That’s not good enough when you have a hall of fame quarterback. The Steelers often times descend to the opponent’s level of play. You can say what you want about Andy Reid but I can promise you that 95 percent of NFL head coaches couldn’t make the playoffs with Alex Smith as their quarterback.

Andy Reid is tough to beat when he has time to prepare (ESPN)

2. Alex Smith Has Outperformed Ben Roethlisberger In Postseason Play:

Alex Smith has the NFL record for the best touchdown to interception ratio ever. Currently, it sits at 11-1. Big Ben’s by comparison, is 24 TD’s – 21 INT’s, granted more games but it still catches your attention. Smith has only played 5 playoff games compared to Ben’s 18 but he has performed when in matters most. Alex Smith has the better playoff pass rating (99.1 compared to 85) and adjusted yards per pass attempt (7.98 compared to 7.01). To make matters more interesting, Roethlisberger isn’t the same guy on the road.

Big Ben

2016, home: 5–1, 20 TD, 5 INT, 8.47 YPA, 116.7 rating

2016, road: 5–3, 9 TD, 8 INT, 6.73 YPA, 78.4 rating

We all know that Kansas City can be one of the hardest places to play. During prime time games, Arrow Head gets crazy. The Chiefs have gone 12-4 in home games the past two years including a win over Pittsburgh at home in 2015.

3. Kansas City Is More Explosive:

Containing Travis Kelce is a huge challenge. Ryan Shazier may be tasked with the duty. (Pro Football Focus)

When people point to explosive often times no one mentions the Chiefs. That couldn’t be further from the truth. KC ranks 1st in defensive touchdowns (5) and turnover differential (+16). Pitt only has 1 defensive touchdown all year and +5 turnover differential. Big Ben throws 3-4 balls a game that has chances to get picked off. That couldn’t play better for Kansas City who have cashed in on the most interceptions in the NFL with 18. Safety Eric Berry and corner Marcus Peters are pure ball hawks. Add in rookie lightning bolt Tyreek Hill. He has scored 12 touchdowns on the year with an average distance of 45 yards per score. That’s video game like! This game simply changes field position with his great return skills. Tight End Travis Kelce truly does his best Gronk impersonations and rips off long touchdowns with ease. Every time you sleep on Kansas City they somehow are able to pull off big plays.

Read About The Chiefs Playoff X-Factor HERE!

The Prediction:

I’m going to pick the Chiefs here. I like Andy Reid’s bye week voodoo magic. Pittsburgh is a different team away from Heinz field. Big Red makes his 6th career conference title game. It’s hard for me to think the Steelers can repeat on such a dominating performance in back to back weeks. KC is going to be playing with their hair on fire after getting embarrassed earlier in the season.

Kansas City Chiefs Defeat Pittsburgh Steelers 30-26

 

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