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Friday, December 19, 2014

Who I like, Kansas City version

This is perhaps the most critical game of the Steelers' season.

Win, and they're in the playoffs. Lose, and they're back in the same situation they found themselves in a year ago, needing to win and get help to get into the postseason.

Here's why:

A loss to Kansas City would give the Chiefs the tiebreaker over the Steelers and give them identical records.

If the Steelers lose to Kansas City and Cincinnati beats Denver Monday night, Pittsburgh is in trouble.

They would then need to beat Cincinnati and hope that San Diego knocks off the Chiefs in Kansas City in Week 17 to get into the playoffs, much the same way they needed Kansas City to beat San Diego lats season.

The Steelers can assure they don't need to worry about any of those scenarios by taking care of business Sunday.

And as it has been all season, the key will be their offense.

The Steelers need to get off to a fast start and force the Chiefs out of their comfort zone.

Kansas City wants to play things close to the vest, run the ball, play the field position game and win the war of attrition.

But if the Steelers come out and, say, score on their first couple of possessions, Kansas City will be forced to reassess its attack.

If they get the feeling they aren't going to be able to slow Pittsburgh, they'll be forced to open things up. And that's not what you want to do when Alex Smith is your quarterback.

Smith is a fine game manager. But he's not going to win a shootout with Ben Roethlisberger and company - at least not with the weapons Kansas City employs,

Le'Veon Bell will be the key.

Kansas City allows 4.9 yards per carry and has been torched over the past month by far lesser backs than Bell.

The Steelers need to establish Bell and then have Roethlisberger attack off of that.

If Kansas City is effective on early downs, that allows Justin Houston and Tamba Hali to get after the quarterback. And that's when bad things happen.

I think the Steelers will control the line of scrimmage and win this game.

Pittsburgh is a 3-point favorite and I like the Steelers to win, 30-21.

@ The Steelers will have a limited number of tickets available for a potential home playoff game the weekend of Jan. 3 or 4.

Tickets will be available beginning at 10 a.m. Sat., Dec. 20. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 1-800-745-3000.


Anonymous said...

Dale, it's my understanding that both Troy and Ike will miss the KC game. Who are their replacements and any thoughts on how that might effect the defense?

Dale Lolley said...

The rotation at CB will be the same as last week and what it was when Ike was out before. Gay, McCain and Blake.

Will Allen will be at safety

ibygeorge said...

I like your scheme for victory. Bell being key. My only worry is Roethlisberger being accurate. I think he likes the big occasions and has proved himself in them, but whatever makes him throw high, or get his passes batted down, I hope effects Smith instead.
Instead of a shootout this game could be rushing display. Charles needs to be stuffed.

Anonymous said...

KC's run defense hasn't been good. Except in short yardage, where they are very stout. And the bizarro counterpart to the Offense with no WR TDs, KCs D has only given up 2 TDs on the ground this year. Both came in the weird first matchup with Oak, where some scrub ripped off a 90 yarder, and another from 11 on 2 of his 4 carries that game.

LexingtonLegend said...

Wasn't Mike Mitchell pretty gimpy after the last game? didn't he get some extra time off this week? who fills in if he gets reinsured, Golden? I wonder if Shamarko will ever play. Harrison should dress this game, who's in street clothes, hopefully Ike.

Dale Lolley said...

Mitchell sat out Wednesday - but he usually does. He practiced Thursday and Friday. Minor groin injury. Returned to the game.

Ike will not be dressing

Anonymous Brian said...

The potential game-wreckers among the Chiefs' pass rushers freak me out.

If the Chiefs sell out to stop Bell, make them pay. Bryant.

This is basically the game to make up for the week 16 performance in 2012.

Roethlisberger to Brown with under a minute left:

Steelers - 27 Chiefs - 23

Chris said...

Of all the games, couldn't you have picked against the Steelers on this one Dale? :)

marc said...

Anyone watching niners/chargers? Whichever refs are making the secondary calls are the worst.

Patrick said...

I think this game is 20-17, in favor of the team who doesn't turn the ball over.

This will be a very close game. I expect Bell's stats to look similar to last week's - not a lot on the ground.