This is the Steel City Blitz Three-Point Stance. Your quick-hitting reference guide to everything you need to know about the Steelers and the Chiefs in their week two match-up. It is sponsored by Nail the Number: The Fight Against Cancer.
What: Kansas City Chiefs 1-0 at Pittsburgh Steelers 0-0-1
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
When: 1pm Eastern Sunday, September 16th, 2018
Weather: 79 degrees and sunny at kickoff
Line: Steelers -5
Last Week: The Chiefs rode the speed of Tyreek Hill and the passing of Patrick Mahomes to a 38-28 win over San Diego. The Steelers survived six turnovers and blew a 14-point lead to tie the Browns 21-21.
TV: CBS TV Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts and Evan Washburn on the sidelines.
TV Coverage in Your Area: Click here to see if you’re getting the game in your area!
Radio: Steelers Nation Radio/WDVE Bill Hillgrove, Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley on the sidelines.
Head Official: Jerome Boger
Key Injuries: PIT: QB Ben Roethlisberger (Rt. Elbow) – Questionable, CB Joe Haden (Hamstring) – Doubtful, CB Artie Burns (Toe) – Questionable, G David DeCastro (Hand) – Doubtful, TE Vance McDonald (Foot) – Questionable, DE Tyson Alualu (Shoulder) – Doubtful, DE Cameron Heyward (Knee) – Questionable KC: S Eric Berry (Heel) – Doubtful
LB Ben Niemann (Hamstring) – Out
2018 NFL Ranks:
Total Offense: PIT 6th, KC 13th Passing Offense: PIT 7th, KC 13th Rushing Offense: PIT 7th, KC 21st
Total Defense: PIT 11th, KC 31st Passing Defense: PIT 5th, KC 30th Rushing Defense: PIT 30th, KC 20th
AFC North Rankings: Cincinnati 2-0, Baltimore 1-1, Cleveland 0-0-1, Pittsburgh 0-0-1
What You Need to Know: Since Heinz Field opened in 2001, the Steelers are 15-2 in their home openers…
What’s at Stake: It may be early but with a frustrating tie already in their pocket against a divisional foe, a win over an AFC team would go a long way towards any potential tie-breakers. Add to that the Bengals are out to a 2-0 record with two AFC wins and you have a situation where the Steelers really can’t afford to be playing catch-up.
All-Time Series: Steelers lead 22-10 and are 11-4 all-time at home against Kansas City
Series Highs: PASSING: Steelers Ben Roethlisberger 398 yards11/22/2009, Chiefs Steve DeBerg 338 yards 10/29/1989… RUSHING: Steelers Le’Veon Bell 179 tards 10/15/2017, Chiefs Priest Holmes 150 yards 10/14/2001… RECEIVING: Steelers Louis Lipps 183 yards 9/2/1984, Chiefs Otis Taylor 190 yards 10/18/1971
Last Meeting: 10/15/17 at Arrowhead Stadium. Steelers 19 Chiefs 13
Three Things We Need to See for a Steelers’ Victory:
Ben Returns to Form. As of this writing, Ben Roethlisberger did in fact practice Friday and should play on Sunday. When he does, we need to see not just “home Ben” but an even better version of that. His performance last week, despite the 313 yards and one score was very bad. Lots of missed throws, poor decision-making, etc. That has to change going forward. He’s too experienced and too damn good to have games as bad as this one. I expect him to get the ball out quicker and I expect the offensive line to block better as well. The Chiefs are vulnerable in the secondary and there’s no reason for Ben to not play well. One note from Ben Anderson on the podcast this week… Last season Roethlisberger wasn’t practicing on Wednesdays until after his awful performance against Jacksonville. Could that be an issue this year?
Keep Mahomes in the Pocket. You might think Mahomes is more suited to just sit in the pocket and rely on his big arm to pick apart teams. Not so fast… He’s actually quite good at outside the pocket to use his legs and make quality throws. What’s interesting is that last week the Steelers should have practiced this against Tyrod Taylor. Instead, they let him get outside and run for over 70 yards, three first downs and a score. The outside rushers, Bud Dupree, T.J. Watt and Anthony Chickillo have got to force Mahomes to step into the pocket where Cam Heyward and company will be closing in. If they allow Mahomes to get outside as often as they did Taylor then it cold be a long day for the Steelers’ Defense.
Steelers’ Depth Will be Tested. If things stand as they are there’s a good chance the Steelers could start B.J. Finney, Cam Sutton and Coty Sensabaugh could be starting. Then factor in the potential loss of key reserve Tyson Alualu and the Steelers’ depth is going to face huge challenges. Finney will be just fine in place of DeCastro. He doesn’t move quite as well but as a bulldozer in the road game he’ll be more than adequate. If Artie Burns, who appeared on the injury list with a bad toe cannot go, that means Sensabaugh starts while Sutton goes for Joe Haden on the other side. One starting corner down is one thing but two is a major concern.
Predictions: Everything points to a big rebound by the Steelers. They’re great in home openers, Big Ben typically bounces back after bad road games and they’ve had the Chiefs’ number in recent years. The injuries concern me however and my thinking from earlier in the week has changed a bit. I think the Steelers win but it isn’t as easy as I earlier thought. Steelers 31 Chiefs 27
Season Prediction Record: 0-1