Steelers vs. Chiefs: Keys to Victory
The Pittsburgh Steelers face the Kansas City Chiefs at home on Sunday in what will be a must-win game for both teams. The Chiefs need the win to keep their playoff hopes alive, and the Steelers need the win to clinch at least a Wild Card spot, but also to keep their hopes of winning the AFC North alive as well.
The Chiefs are coming off of a win over the Raiders, which was proceeded by a 3-game losing streak while the Steelers have just won back-to-back road games. The Steelers need to continue their “hot” streak for the next two games to turn their playoff hopes into reality.
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Keep that “balance” going
The Steelers offense appears to be hitting their stride at precisely the right time of the season. After some wildly inconsistent weeks of red zone woes and then 6-touchdown games, Ben Roethlisberger and Todd Haley have found a groove that includes a remarkably balanced attack of letting the game situation dictate how they’re going to go and then executing it.
Last week the Falcons were hell bent on stopping the run, and for the most part they did, but Le’Veon Bell was able to convert some third downs and score touchdowns while Roethlisberger was able to spread the ball out to Bell and the rest of the receivers. With the Chiefs having the 28th ranked defense against the run, the Steelers should be able to exploit that and control the tone of the game.
Stop the run
The Kansas City Chiefs have one of the worst passing offenses in the league so what the Steelers defense needs to do is force Alex Smith to throw the ball. It won’t be an easy task to contain Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis but the Steelers defense needs to take them out of the Chiefs’ game plan.
Jamaal Charles averages 5.2 yards per carry, which is insane, and has nine touchdowns so far this season. He’s 50 yards shy of a 1,000 yards on the ground this season and the Steelers shouldn’t get swept up in the talk that he has perhaps lost a step. Stopping him and Davis is a must for a Steelers win.
Score touchdowns early
Enough of the slow starts already, please. For the love of Myron Cope, just get it in the end zone in the first quarter. The best way for the Steelers to help the defense out as far as putting the ball in Alex Smith’s hands as opposed to the Chiefs’ backfield is to score early and often. They don’t have to go out and throw 6 touchdowns in the first half, but an opening-drive touchdown would be a sight for sore eyes.
The Chiefs have the 8th ranked defense in the NFL, but aside from the Monday night blowout against New England back in Week 3, haven’t done well against top-ranked offensive teams. The Chiefs can’t compete in a shootout with the Steelers so the biggest key would be to take the lead and never give it up.
What say you, Steeler Nation? What are your keys to a Steelers victory and clinched playoff berth?
Here we go Steelers! Here we go!