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Inside the Steelers: Chiefs-Steelers Preview

In the final game of the regular season last year, Kansas City faced San Diego. The Chiefs, who clinched a playoff spot, decided to rest their starters against the Chargers. The outcome of the game was significant for the Pittsburgh Steelers. In the second half of the year, Pittsburgh finished 6-2 to end up at 8-8. For weeks, an almost impossible set of dominoes had to fall to for the Steelers to make the playoffs.

Almost impossible.

Every game the Steelers needed occurred, and only one miracle remained.

Kansas City had to beat San Diego.

Despite not playing their starters, the Chiefs held the lead almost the entire game. It was tied late and the Steelers were a Ryan Succop chip shot field away from elation. But, alas, as the final seconds ticked away, the kick was missed, and the game headed to overtime.

Kansas City had several chances to win in OT, including a play that appeared to be a fumble recovery for a touchdown for the Chiefs. Instead, the call was missed, and the Chargers drove down the field and kicked a game winning field goal. The Steelers season was officially over. It was an agonizing way to go out when they had come so close to getting in.

Now the Steelers have a chance to exact a little revenge on the Chiefs, as a Steelers victory will vault Pittsburgh into the playoffs, and almost certainly eliminate Kansas City.

The killer B’s, as in Big Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell continued their dominance last week against Atlanta. The Steelers offense is now ranked #1 in the NFL, and will look to keep the engine humming against an average Chiefs’ defense.

“The last couple of games have been playoff games for us,” Roethlisberger said. “We’ve had to take that approach and that mindset because of how important every game was where we were record wise, seed-wise whatever you want to call it. We’ve kind of had that mentality for the last couple of weeks that it’s time to get hot and play our best football. So we’re just going to continue to try to do that.”

Kansas City is tough against quarterbacks, but is majorly susceptible against the run, so look for Bell to have another big day.

The Steelers are hoping to not be the first team to allow a touchdown by a Chiefs wide receiver this season. Alex Smith, who has thrown for 2,954 yards, 18 touchdowns, and six interceptions, mainly targets his tight ends and running backs inside the Red Zone. Travis Kelce has 56 receptions for 747 yards and five touchdowns. Anthony Fasano has chipped in for 24 catches for 225 yards and four scores. Dwayne Bowe is basically the only WR Smith ever looks at, and has 51 receptions and 667 yards. The star of the Chiefs’ offense is undoubtedly Jamaal Charles, who has run for 950 yards and nine touchdowns. He also has 33 catches for 235 yards and an additional five touchdowns.

One of the game’s greatest in SS Troy Polamalu is unlikely to play Sunday due to a knee injury. Polamalu is hopeful to participate in the season finale against the Bengals, which could possibly be his last appearance as a Steeler at Heinz Field. CB Ike Taylor is likely out as well. LB James Harrison is expected back after missing the previous two games with a knee injury.

Pittsburgh has won four straight at home against Kansas City since a loss on Dec. 21, 1986.

Prediction: Roethlisberger and the offense are on a roll, so even though the Chiefs are good at bottling up opposing QB’s, look for Ben to still get his yards and control the flow of the game. A good mix of establishing the run game and a few play action passes should keep Kansas City off balance. The Steelers know that if they contain Jamaal Charles, they are going to be in great shape. It’s December and the Steelers are at home. These are the games Pittsburgh thrives in. Speaking of home, that’s where the Chiefs will be spending the playoffs. Pittsburgh is headed to the party. Steelers 24 Chiefs 13

 

Team Rankings

Total Offense: Steelers rank 1st / Chiefs rank 22nd

Rushing: Steelers rank 10th / Chiefs rank 7th

Passing: Steelers rank 2nd / Chiefs rank 30th

Scoring: Steelers rank 6th / Chiefs rank 14th

 

Total Defense: Steelers rank 19th / Chiefs rank 8th

Rushing: Steelers rank 11th / Chiefs rank 28th

Passing: Steelers rank 25th / Chiefs rank 2nd

Scoring: Steelers rank 20th / Chiefs rank 4th

 

Game Information

Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5) vs Kansas City Chiefs (8-6)

Venue: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA.

Game-time: Sunday, December 21 at 1:00 PM

TV: CBS

Weather: 39 degrees with a 30% chance of snow.

Vegas Line: Pittsburgh (-3)

 

Game Notes

* Steelers lead the overall series against the Chiefs at 19-9. Steelers lead the series playing at home at 9-4.

* Last Regular-Season Meeting:  Nov. 12, 2012 in Pittsburgh- Pittsburgh 16 Kansas City 13 F/OT

* Ben Roethlisberger needs two touchdown passes to become the 17th player (fifth active) in NFL history to record 250 career touchdown passes.

* Le’Veon Bell will become the first Steelers running back to record 1,300 rushing yards in a season since 2007 (Willie Parker) with 22.

* Antonio Brown will match a Steelers single-season record for touchdown catches (12) with his next scoring grab (fourth occasion in team history). Needs two receiving yards to set a new career high and team record (1,499 in 2013).

* Heath Miller will hit 6,000 career receiving yards with 75.

 

Injury Report (12/19/2014)

Pittsburgh Steelers

Out:

Doubtful: S Troy Polamalu (knee), CB Ivan Taylor (shoulder, forearm)

Questionable: TE Matt Spaeth (elbow)

Probable: CB William Gay (not injury related), T Marcus Gilbert (ankle), LB James Harrison (knee), DT Steve McLendon (not injury related), TE Heath Miller (not injury related), S Michael Mitchell (groin), C Maurkice Pouncey (ankle), QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related), WR Markus Wheaton (illness)

 

Kansas City Chiefs

Out:

Doubtful:

Questionable: WR Dwayne Bowe (illness), LB Tamba Hali (knee)

Probable: DE Allen Bailey (concussion), RB Jamaal Charles (knee, ankle), TE Anthony Fasano (knee), G Zach Fulton (toe), CB Phillip Gaines (concussion), DE Jaye Howard (illness, shoulder), LB Joshua Mauga (oblique), LB Joe Mays (knee), CB Christopher Owens (knee), CB Sean Smith (groin)

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Mike DrakulichYour source for Pittsburgh sports!
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