Steeler Nation doesn’t just reside in the surrounding areas of Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. It is a world-wide army that lives and dies with the NFL franchise that calls Pittsburgh it’s home. The six-time Super Bowl champions are a team that always strives for excellence, and their fans expect nothing less in return. This is the ultimate Steelers Game Day Preview that all followers of the black and gold come to find everything they need to know about the Pittsburgh Steelers and their upcoming opponent! Mike Drakulich (@PghSportsNation), who covers both Pitt football and the Steelers for NGSC Sports, brings you inside the huddle for both teams with a weekly game story, the Steelers offensive and defensive game plans for success, score prediction, game day information, a detailed breakdown of each team, and an up to date team injury report. Heck, you’ll even know the weather at kickoff. The only thing you’re missing is a game uniform.
Steelers need to find some semblance of an offense
The Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6-1) have been one of the worst offensive teams under the coordination of Matt Canada.
For some reason, the future Hall of Fame quarterback that they have had since 2004, the same one that brought two more Lombardi Trophy’s to the Steeler Super Bowl collection, has been treated more like a green eared rookie than an 18 year veteran that Ben Roethlisberger is.
“Nineteen points that we scored last week, it isn’t realistic to think it’s going to be enough to get out of the stadium with victory,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said.
That’s listed under “Really?” in the sarcasm department, as all Pittsburgh’s offense could do, despite the defense handing them several short fields, was deploy kicker Chris Boswell to provide nearly all of the points.
Slow starts have been a staple this year, and if that happens this week vs an explosive offense like Kansas City (10-4) has, this could get ugly quickly.
“We better come in and be prepared to score points and minimize them in situational football and get off the field on third down,” Tomlin said. “Their starts have been significant, up 14, up 10, up nine. Coupled with our recent experience, that is something that can’t transpire. We can’t play the game in that way, particularly in the comforts of Arrowhead Stadium.”
Road games have been a major issue for this team, something that Tomlin acknowledged.
“We haven’t played very well on the road, I’m acknowledging that,” Tomlin said. “We’re not worried about that, to be quite honest with you. We can spend a lot of time lining up and identifying our worries. We’re excited about the opportunity that we have in front of us, the things that we’ve done to position ourselves for it, and equally as important, what are we going to do in preparation.”
Steelers Game Plan for Success
- Free Ben Roethlisberger: We might as well just leave this here for the rest of the year. Can anyone understand why future HOF QB Ben Roethlisberger is being treated like a rookie in this offense? Why has he not been given the keys to the anemic offense called by Matt Canada?
- Score: If you can’t put points up against Kansas City, chances are you are in deep trouble. If the Steelers have any chance to win this week, they need to start fast and let #7 take control. Field goals won’t cut it this week… bess find the endzone early and often.
- Bring the heat: T.J. Watt will need to be in Patrick Maholme’s jersey all night, or this could be a slaughter with how the defense has played, last week notwithstanding.
If the injury report stays as is, tight end Travis Kelce will be out for tomorrow’s game. Kelce is a major weapon in KC’s arsenal, along with wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Patrick Mahomes is prone to dumb turnovers this year, so perhaps a good pass rush by T.J. Watt could force a few needed turnovers, and maybe some short fields for the Pittsburgh offense.
Speaking of which… this offense cannot stay as is if the Steelers seriously want to make the playoffs, which even with a loss Sunday, the Steelers will have a good chance to be in IF they can beat both Cleveland and Baltimore to end the regular season.
There are a myriad of major improvements needed, including scoring points and stopping the opposing run game.
As of right now, there is zero faith Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin will make any significant changes needed to get this team any confidence or to being put in position to have the best chance to win the game, especially on offense… Chiefs 24 Steelers 16
Game Day Information
Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs
- Vegas line: Kansas City -8.5
Venue: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO.
- Field: Kentucky Blue Grass
Game-time: Sunday, December 26th, at 4:25 PM
TV: CBS (KDKA-TV)
- Announcers: Jim Nantz (play-by-play) Tony Romo (analyst) | Tracy Wolfson (reporter)
Local radio: Pittsburgh- 102.5 WDVE-FM & 970 WBGG-AM
- Announcers: Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play) Craig Wolfley (analyst) | Max Starks (sideline) Missi Matthews (sideline)
- Announcers: (play-by-play) (analyst) | (reporter)
Internet broadcast: Steelers Nation Radio (SNR) on Steelers.com
Weather at kickoff: 62 and partly cloudy. Winds out of the South at 18 MPH.
Scouting the Pittsburgh Steelers
Overall record: 7-6-1 (4th in AFC North)
Last game: Steelers 19 Titans 13
Head Coach: Mike Tomlin (14th Season with Steelers)
- Overall regular-season record: 152-84-2
- Playoff record: 8-8 (Qualified for playoffs 9 times)
- 2021 Pittsburgh Steelers Team Roster
- Steelers Team/Individual Statistics
- Pittsburgh Steelers 2021 Schedule
- Points per game: 20.8
- Total yards per game: 331.4
- Passing yards per game: 246.9
- Rushing yards per game: 84.6
Offensive Scouting Report
- Strengths: Ben Roethlisberger when not shackled. Najee Harris as a dual threat.
- Weaknesses: Scoring. Attacking downfield via pass. Young offensive line.
Starting Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger | Back-up: Mason Rudolph
- Ben Roethlisberger has thrown for 3,214 yards with 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He has been sacked 33 times. Big Ben is best suited dropping back to pass around 25-30 times a game. Unfortunately, Roethlisberger has lost his mobility that made him one of the best out of the pocket passers in the league, and thanks to Matt Canada, he rarely attempts long passes downfield anymore, which was once a staple of his game.
Starting Running Back: Najee Harris | Back-up: Benny Snell, Jr., Kalen Ballage, and Anthony McFarland, Jr.
- Rookie Najee Harris is showing why the Steelers drafted him in the first round, and has rushed for 891 yards and six touchdowns this year. Harris is 2nd on the team with 62 catches for 405 yards and three touchdowns.
Wide Receivers: Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, James Washington, Ray-Ray McCloud, and Cody White.
- Diontae Johnson leads the team with 86 catches for 1,028 yards and six touchdowns. Chase Claypool is the Steelers deep threat, and has 47 receptions for 765 yards and a touchdown. James Washington has caught 24 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns. Ray-Ray McCloud has 27 receptions for 180 yards. Cody White will look to make the most of his chances, if any.
Tight Ends: Pat Friermuth*, Eric Ebron*, Zach Gentry, and Kevin Rader.
- Pat Friermuth has passed Ebron on the depth chart, and has 49 receptions for 422 yards and seven touchdowns. Zach Gentry has logged 10 catches for 97 yards. Eric Ebron has 12 catches for 84 yards and a touchdown, but is injured.
Placekicker: Chris Boswell
- Extra Points: 23-25
- Field Goals: 28-31
- 1-19 yards: 0-0
- 20-29 yards: 7-7
- 30-39 yards: 5-5
- 40-49 yards: 9-11
- 50+ yards: 7-8
Steelers Defense (Base 3-4)
- Points per game allowed: 23.9
- Total offense yards per game allowed: 367.5
- Passing yards allowed: 223.6
- Rushing yards allowed: 143.9
- Sacks: 41
- Interceptions: 9
Defensive Scouting Report
- Strengths: Great pass rush lead by T.J. Watt.
- Weaknesses: DE Stephon Tuitt is still on IR. Bad tackling and communication has lead to some blown plays this year. Rush defense has been an embarrassment.
DE: Cam Heyward | DT: Isaiah Buggs | DE: Chris Wormley.
- Cam Heyward has 7 sacks, a fumble recovery, and 73 tackles. Chris Wormley is in for starter Stephon Tuitt, who is out indefinitely.
OLB: T.J. Watt | ILB: Devin Bush | ILB: Joe Schobert | OLB: Alex Highsmith.
- Defensive Player of the Year candidate T.J. Watt leads the team with 17.5 sacks and 53 tackles. Devin Bush has been a disappointment all year, and has 66 tackles and two sacks., Joe Schobert, a Pro Bowler acquired from Jacksonville, is 2nd the team with 98 tackles. Alex Highsmith has 58 tackles and three sacks.
CB: Joe Haden | SS: Terrell Edmunds | FS: Minkah Fitzpatrick | CB: Cameron Sutton/Ahkello Witherspoon
- Joe Haden and Cameron Sutton will be at the corners with Minkah Fitzpatrick at free safety and Terrell Edmunds at strong safety. CB James Pierre will see plenty of field time in the nickle. Fitzpatrick is 1st on the team with 102 tackles and has two interceptions. Edmunds has one of Pittsburgh’s nine interceptions. Ahkello Witherspoon has two interceptions.
Steelers Special Teams
Punter: Pressley Harvin III
Kickoff Returners: Ray-Ray McCloud and Anthony McFarland, Jr.
Punt Returner: Ray-Ray McCloud
Scouting report: McCloud is averaging 22.4 yard per kickoff return and 9.1 yards per punt return.
Scouting the Kansas City Chiefs
Overall record: 10-4 (1st in AFC West)
Last game: Kansas City 34 Chargers 28
Head Coach: Andy Reid (9th season with Kansas City)
- Overall regular-season record: 231-134-1 | 101-14 with Chiefs
- Points per game: 27.5
- Total Offense per game: 406.3
- Passing yards per game: 296.4
- Rushing yards per game: 109.9
Offensive Scouting Report
- Strengths: The passing game under Pat Mahomes, with Tyreek Hill as his top option.
- Weaknesses: Run game is sublime. Tight end, with Travis Kelce, as of publishing, is still out.
Starting Quarterback: Patrick Mahomes | Back-up: Chad Henne
- Patrick Mahomes isn’t playing to the level he was a few years ago, as his turnovers have risen dramatically this year. Mahomes has thrown for 4,052 yards, with 30 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He has been sacked 25 times, and has rushed for 302 yards with a pair of scores.
Starting Running Back: Clyde Edwards-Helaire | Back-up: Darrel Williams and Derrick Gore
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the starter but has had a quiet season with 490 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. He has 18 receptions for 125 yards and two TD’s. Darrel Williams has 398 yards rushing and four scores. Williams is dangerous out of the backfield with 38 catches for 373 yards and another two scores.
Receivers: Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman, Byron Pringle, Demarcus Robinson, and Josh Gordon.
- Tyreek Hill leads the team with 102 catches for 1,178 yards and nine touchdowns. Mecole Hardman has 47 receptions for 506 yards and a TD. Byron Pringle has caught 28 passes for 402 yards and three touchdowns. Demarcus Robinson has 18 catches for 197 yards and two TD’s.
Tight Ends: Travis Kelce* and Blake Bell.
- Travis Kelce is one of the best tight ends in the game with 83 catches for 1,066 yards and seven touchdowns. Blake Bell has contributed five catches for 41 yards.
Placekicker: Harrison Butker*
- Extra Points: 41-43
- Field Goals: 22-25
- 1-19 yards: 0-0
- 20-29 yards: 3-3
- 30-39 yards: 9-9
- 40-49 yards: 4-5
- 50+ yards: 6-8
Chiefs Defense (Base 4-3)
- Points per game allowed: 21.1
- Total offense yards per game allowed: 366.4
- Passing yards allowed: 250.9
- Rushing yards allowed: 115.6
- Sacks: 24
- Interceptions: 14
Defensive Scouting Report
- Strengths: Bend but don’t break defense… gives up some yards, but tightens up in the red-zone.
- Weaknesses: Poor pass rush.
Defensive Line: Chris Jones leads the team with seven sacks.
Linebackers: Nick Bolton leads the team with 102 tackles.
Secondary: Safety Tyrann Mathieu has 65 tackles, one sack, and three interceptions. CB L’Jarius Sneed has 62 tackles, one sack, and two picks.
Chiefs Special Teams
Kickoff Returners: Byron Pringle
Punt Returner: Mecole Hardman
Scouting report: Byron Pringle is averaging 25.0 yards per kickoff return. Mecole Hardman is averaging 10.5 yards per kick return.
Steelers vs Chiefs History
Series History: Began in 1970
Overall Record: 23-12
- Home: 11-5
- Away: 12-7
- Postseason: 1-1
Streak: Chiefs won the last game.
Last regular-season meeting: Chiefs Win, 42-37 (Sept. 16, 2018)
Last postseason meeting: Steelers Win, 18-16 (Jan. 15, 2017)
Injury Report (12/25/21)
- Out: LB Buddy Johnson (Foot), TE Pat Freiermuth (Concussion), DE Chris Wormley (Groin), P Pressley Harvin III
- Doubtful: None reported
- Questionable: None reported
- Reserve/COVID-19 List: DE Isaiah Buggs, RB Anthony McFarland Jr., LB Devin Bush, OL Zach Banner and CB Marcus Allen
Kansas City Chiefs
- Out: None reported
- Doubtful: None reported
- Questionable: LB Nick Bolton, TE Travis Kelce, OL Lucas Niang
- Reserve/COVID-19 List: CB Rashad Fenton, K Harrison Butker
From Midland, "The Basketball Capital of Pennsylvania", located 35 miles NW of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. This former steel town was home to storied athletes such as Dave Alston, Norm Van Lier, Simmie Hill, and the legendary 1965 Midland High School Basketball Team.
There's nowhere on earth that is more dedicated to its sports teams like Western Pennsylvania and the city of Pittsburgh. The passion and pride of Pittsburgh's fan base is second to no one. From the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA football and basketball, to W.P.I.A.L. high school sports, "The City of Champions" has it all!
As Editor of Pittsburgh SportsNation, Mike Drakulich provides top notch opinions and coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pitt Panthers football & basketball, Robert Morris Colonials basketball, and Duquesne Dukes basketball, as well as all sports teams that represent Western Pennsylvania, including WPIAL High School Football.
For a refreshing view of sports, mixed with humor and uncensored opinions, check out Pittsburgh SportsNation today on Facebook, Twitter @PghSportsNation and videos with over 1,000,000 views on YouTube!