The Kansas City Chiefs finished the season with a 12-5 record and in Week 16 defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 36-10 at home. This record is important for getting to the playoffs and determining the seeding, but now that the playoffs are here, the 12-5 record means nothing. The Kansas City Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers will show up on Sunday at Arrowhead and play for four quarters to determine who moves onto the next round. The statistics through the season have no bearing on the outcome of this game. As simple as it sounds, now until the Super Bowl, it is one game at a time.
The Kansas City Chiefs Will Need to Avoid Making Mistakes
The Chiefs will have a tall task facing a veteran Steelers’ defense. The defense is led by linebacker TJ Watt, who tied Michael Strahan’s NFL sack record with 22.5. The secondary has a veteran’s presence with Minkah Fitzpatrick roaming as the free safety. Kansas City will need to attack fast, and the Chiefs can do that on offense. Patrick Mahomes and the offense will need to play mistake-free football, forcing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and company to perform. According to ESPN, Roethlisberger said this about playing the Chiefs
"“We’re probably 20 point underdogs and we’re going to the No. 1 team, I know they’re not the No. 1 seed but they’ve won the AFC the last two years, arguably the best team in football,” Roethlisberger said. “We don’t have a chance. So let’s just go in and have fun.”"
The Kansas City Chiefs Will Need to Play Good Defense
The Chiefs’ defense has sputtered as of late, but ideally, this is the start of a new season, and this side of the football can stifle the opposing offense. When healthy, this defense has played at an elite level. The secondary plays off of the pass rush provided by the front seven. The Steelers could be getting star wide receiver, Juju Smith-Schuster back from the injured reserve. According to All Steelers Fan Nation, head coach Mike Tomlin talked about the return of Smith-Schuster,
"“He’s worked hard in rehabilitation and gotten himself to this point,” head coach Mike Tomlin said on Smith-Schuster’s return. “We simply started his 21-day window. … Good to have him out here, but it’s just part of the process.”"
This would be a tremendous boost to morale for the Steelers, but also some internal motivation for the Chiefs. Smith-Schuster was an option in the off-season for Kansas City, and he elected to return to the steel city. Ben Roethlisberger seemed shocked and surprised his team made the playoffs. Even if the star wideout returns it sounds like it wont matter. Michael D’Arcy, a KC Kingdom contributor covered Big Ben’s comments in detail. According to Arrowhead Pride, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo responded to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s comments saying,
"“We certainly don’t look at it that way, there are 14 teams that make this tournament, and any team can beat any other teams — and the minute you don’t think that’s the case, that’s when you get knocked out… we’re not taking anything for granted, and hopefully we play that way; we certainly need the top of our game defensively to help our organization get on to the next week.”"
The First Test for the Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs will need to play an all-around game, and this game against the Pittsburg Steelers is the first step in making the Super Bowl. Kansas City is looking to make another run at their fourth consecutive AFC Championship and third consecutive Super Bowl. This mindset going back-to-back-to-back has been many Chiefs’ fans dreams for years. This is not an easy road to the Super Bowl, and teams want to knock out the defending AFC champs. The game is scheduled for Sunday, December 16th, at 7:15 P.M. CT. This matchup will be aired on NBC.