Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs
The Steelers are coming off one of their most embarrassing performances in recent years, having lost 30-9 to the surprisingly decent, yet heavy underdog, Jacksonville Jaguars. The reward? A trip to Kansas City to face the only remaining undefeated team in a stadium that is as raucous as any in the NFL. After last week, will the Steelers be ready to play? At 3-2, this is a big game. A fall to 3-3 will most likely push the Steelers behind the Ravens and while it’s still relatively early, it could also even them with the Bengals, something the black and gold can ill afford.
Here Are The Keys To A Steeler Victory:
1. The defense must stop the run, specifically the league’s leading rusher Kareem Hunt. Hunt is most likely licking his chops to face the leagues 28th ranked rush defense. Pittsburgh needs to show some different looks and consider finally playing James Harrison to help bolster the run defense. I also think they’d be best limiting the snaps that Bud Dupree sees as he hasn’t been very successful this season.
2. Ben Roethlisberger needs to play with confidence. After his five interception performance, he made some comments that were taken in various ways throughout the media. He can put it all to bed; and show his team at the same time that his last game was an aberration; if he comes out gun slinging and playing with the bravado that has made him an all time great for so many years.
3. The offense must revolve around Le’Veon Bell. I shouldn’t have to keep writing this but obviously the Steelers aren’t getting it yet. It’s time to give him the keys to the car and allow him to do what he does best; make plays. If they can get him the ball 25 times on the ground, he will have a big day. If he starts off slow, they must stick with him, he’ll work it out.
4. Mike Tomlin needs to manage the game far better than he did last week. His challenge calls were weak and his mismanagement of those plays led to a mismanagement of the timeouts, due to a lack of them in crunch time. He needs to understand the game flow or he will easily lose the chess match to Andy Reid.
Here Are A Few Things To Watch:
1. Ben Roethlisberger. How will he respond and will he deliver after having the worst game of his career?
2. The defense. I think it’s time they dial back the blitzes, it’s killing them lately. What style will they play? Will they stack the box to force the pass or will they rush on every down?
3. I want to look for discipline. Last week, Mike Mitchell chose to dance after making a tackle on a 12 yard gain in the fourth quarter as the Steelers were down by 11. Does that sound like someone who has a clue what’s going on in the game? It doesn’t to me. That discipline needs to be instilled in the team from Mike Tomlin on down.
4. I’m ready for James Harrison to play and wreak havoc. I have a gut feeling he’s going to show up on Sunday and deliver in a BIG way.
Sunday poses a massive threat to the Steelers season already. The Chiefs are solid on all fronts and haven’t been defeated yet. With the Steelers coming off such a horrible defeat at home, logic would suggest they would lose this game convincingly this week. However, I’m not logical. I think the game vs. the Jaguars was the wakeup call this team needed and they will come out firing on all cylinders. I look for the Steelers to go into Kansas City and come out with a ‘W’. They’ll take this one in a barn burner, 34-30.