Steelers could catch a break in must-win game vs Chiefs this week

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87). Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87). Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Steelers desperately need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, and they may have just caught a break in Week 16 against the Chiefs. 

Traveling to Arrowhead Stadium to face the Chiefs in December is never an easy task. It’s even harder when you consider that Kansas City is arguable the hottest team in the NFL right now after their seventh straight win.

While the Pittsburgh Steelers were slated to be heavy underdogs for this Week 16 contest, Mike Tomlin’s team could catch an unwarranted break in this must-win contest. Recently, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that a few big names have from the Chiefs have been placed on the COVID-19 list. FanSided insider, Matt Verderame, says there could be more on the way:

Regardless of what team you root for, this is never what you want to hear. As I wish all of these players a speedy recovery, there’s no doubt that COVID could have an impact on this much-anticipated matchup.

As of Tuesday evening, six Chiefs have been placed on the COVID-19 list: WR Tyreek Hill, TE Travis Kelce, K Harrison Butker, CB Charvarius Ward, CB Rashad Fenton, and TE Blake Bell. Though there is a chance these players could clear protocol and return in time for the game this week, losing them for this contest could shift the odds.

This has already proven to be the case. The Week 16 betting odds at WynnBET initially had the Steelers at 10.5-point underdogs to open the week. With this news, the odds have since shifted to +9.5 for Pittsburgh, but have now become locked with the debacle that is the COVID situation in Kansas City.

Here’s where it could get scary for Chiefs fans. If more Kansas City players test positive leading up to the game, those players won’t have enough time to clear protocol in order to play in this contest. We have seen in the past that just a few names on the COVID-19 list typically turns into many before the start of the game.

Steelers fans shouldn’t be hoping for an advantage like this

I know I’m probably in the minority, but I genuinely don’t want the Steelers to get an advantage by default like this against the Chiefs. In fact, I wish these two teams could play each other at full strength.

While it seems more likely at this point that the Steelers could steal a win on the road this week than what we originally thought, I want Pittsburgh to get into the playoffs because they deserve to be there; not by the misfortune of other teams.

I want the Steelers to really come out and show me that they are deserving of a playoff spot this year. It’s not going to do Pittsburgh any good to make the tournament by default only to get sent home in the first round. If that proves to be the case, then this team really could use elite draft capital — something they have been missing for far too long.

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I would love nothing more than to see the Pittsburgh Steelers march into Arrowhead and stick it to the best team in the AFC. However, I want them to be able to do that without having a roster decimated by COVID.