Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5) (Three-Seed)
First match-up: Vs Dolphins in Wild Card Round
In week four of the regular season, the Pittsburgh Steelers gave the Chiefs an ass-whoopin’ like none other. It was embarrassing and televised for the entire nation to see on Sunday Night Football.
The Kansas City Chiefs have a chance to redeem themselves in the playoffs though, and this time, it will have to come at home in front of crazy Chiefs Kingdom. The only way the Steelers can get to the AFC Championship Game is by winning at Arrowhead Stadium in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
A few weeks ago, I wanted no part of playing the Steelers. I had the mindset that getting the five-seed and playing postseason games on the road for three weeks was the way to go. Then I got real and realized that in order for the Chiefs to take that next step, they needed to take the tougher path to the postseason, which also included them earning a bye week.
Pittsburgh has an incredibly good offense under Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown, but their defense is beatable. Sure, the Chiefs only put up 14 points against them in week four, but they were also forced into a bad situation early on in the game.
The only way the Steelers can get to the AFC Championship Game is by winning at Arrowhead Stadium in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
Bell is a terrifying threat on the ground, especially considering just how bad the Chiefs run defense is, but the stat to look at in this potential match-up is that Big Ben plays significantly worse on the road.
According to NFL.com, Roethlisberger has a 59.4 competition percentage on the road compared to his 70.8 percentage at home. The most notable stat, however, is his touchdown to interception ratio.
At home in 2016, Big Ben threw 20 touchdowns to only five interceptions, but on the road, he’s thrown only nine touchdowns to eight interceptions. He’s a significantly different quarterback on the road, which is a great thing to see with this playoff game taking place at Arrowhead.
Most Chiefs fans are banking on the fact that the Steelers will be rolling into Arrowhead Stadium for Kansas City’s first home playoff game since 2010. If that ends up being the case, don’t expect this to be a repeat of the week four debacle at Heinz Field. The Chiefs will be out for blood in this one.