NFL Playoffs Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers At Kansas City Chiefs — AFC Divisional Round
After successfully defeating the Miami Dolphins in the Wild Card Round of the NFL Playoffs, the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to play the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round. Last week’s incredibly cold weather — a mere 17 degrees in Pittsburgh — was the coldest game the Miami Dolphins have ever played in the post-season, and the chilly conditions clearly played into the favor of the Steelers. But when the weather returns to slightly-above-freezing levels in the Midwest on Sunday afternoon, they will be facing a Kansas City team that is as used to the bitter cold as they are.
Neither Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger nor Kansas City’s Alex Smith had an extremely impressive 2016 regular season at quarterback, but they will both be forced to step up as offensive leaders on Sunday if they expect to advance to the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots or Houston Texans. But the Chiefs defense will have another major threat to try to contain on Sunday: Le’Veon Bell.
During the regular season, Bell rushed for over 1,200 yards and was good for another 600-plus yards receiving. In last week’s game against the Dolphins, Le’Veon rushed for 167 yards on 29 carries (averaging 5.8 yards/carry), scored two touchdowns, and didn’t fumble the ball once.
If Ben Roethlisberger is firing on all cylinders and Le’Veon Bell continues to be a pain in his opposition’s side, then the Pittsburgh Steelers may leave Kansas City with an upset victory. According to the most recent Vegas odds, the Kansas City Chiefs are considered a one-point favorite over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The over/under is set at 43.5.
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Of course, one major advantage Kansas City has is an extra week of rest. While the Steelers were busy on their home field defeating the Miami Dolphins last week, the Kansas City Chiefs were watching from the comfort of their literal homes. The Chiefs (12-4) ended the 2016 regular season tied for the third-best record in the league and the second-best record in the AFC. The other team to finish 12-4 was KC’s division rivals the Oakland Raiders. Going undefeated in their division gave the Chiefs the edge in the tiebreaker, which sent Oakland to Houston where the Texans eliminated them from post-season play.
While the AFC West was arguably the toughest division in the league — leaving the third-place Denver Broncos (9-7) out of the NFL Playoffs completely — the Pittsburgh Steelers were up against less of a challenge in the AFC North. Normally one of the toughest divisions in the league, the Baltimore Ravens (8-8), Cincinnati Bengals (6-9-1), and Cleveland Browns (1-15) all performed much worse than expected. While their decisive win over the Miami Dolphins gave proof that the Steelers are serious about making a Super Bowl 51 run, they’ll have to step up their game against Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs.
Where to Watch Kansas City Chiefs vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The AFC Divisional Playoffs match-up featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs will be played at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. The game will be televised on NBC with coverage beginning at 1 p.m. EST. The game can be heard live on Westwood One Radio and can be viewed online with a subscription to NFL Game Pass.
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