The Kansas City Chiefs are set to host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. This AFC Divisional Round matchup is set for 1:05 EST at Arrowhead Stadium. It will be televised on NBC. Looking at the NFL betting odds, Kansas City is a 2-point favorite with the total at 45 points.
Steelers vs Chiefs Vegas Spread Preview
Pittsburgh made easy work of the Dolphins in the Wild Card Round. The Steelers jumped out to a 14-0 lead less than 10 minutes in and cruised to a 30-12 victory. Pittsburgh’s 3-head monster of Roethlisberger, Bell and Brown provided most of the damage. Roethlisberger threw for just 197 yards, but was 13 of 18 for 2 TDs. Both going to Brown, who had 5 catches for 124 yards. Bell had 167 yards and 2 scores on 29 carries.
Kansas City earned the No. 2 seed in the AFC with a 12-4 record. The Chiefs are now 22-5 in their last 27 games dating to last season. Last year KC snapped 8-game playoff losing streak with a 30-0 win at Houston in the Wild Card round. It was their first playoff win since 1993. That also happens to be the last time the Chiefs won a playoff game at home.
These two teams met up on Sunday Night Football back in Week 4 at Pittsburgh. The Steelers won in a blowout, crushing the Chiefs 43-14. The Chiefs trailed 0-36 before finally scoring in the 4th quarter. It was the worst loss for Kansas City in the 3-plus seasons under head coach Andy Reid.
Free Pick & Betting Predictions: Chiefs -2
My early lean here is on Kansas City laying less than a field goal at home. It would be easy to look at that first meeting and just assume the Steelers will dominate the Chiefs again. The thing is, this is no where close to the same Kansas City team that got embarrassed in early October.
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Just about everything that could go wrong in that first meeting for the Chiefs did. They fumbled on their second position, leading to a Pittsburgh touchdown. The very next time they had the ball they threw an interception. Setting up another easy score. At that point the Steelers had all the momentum. Keep in mind that was big spot for the Pittsburgh. Playing at home in a prime time game and off an ugly 31-point loss the previous week at Philadelphia.
Revenge is a big time motivator, but it’s not the main factor in why I like the Chiefs. That would be the history of Kansas City head coach Andy Reid off a bye. As a head coach with the Eagles and Chiefs, Reid’s teams are 19-2 when playing with a bye. That includes a perfect 3-0 record in the playoffs (all with the Eagles). Note that KC had one of it’s better games off a bye this season. They went into Oakland and dominated the Raiders 26-10. Outgaining Oakland 406 to 285.
The other big thing here is the change in venue. Pittsburgh a lot more vulnerable on the road than they are at home. At the same time, the Chiefs have one of the biggest home field advantages in the league. Arrowhead is going to be crazy on Sunday.
A few big differences for the Chiefs compared to the first meeting. One is Tyreek Hill’s emergence as a major weapon both on offense an in the return game. The other is Justin Houston, who when at his best is one of the elite pass rushers in the game. I also think KC’s secondary is playing much better now than they were early in the year. A big part of that is the emergence of corner Terrance Mitchell. He’s made it tough on teams who don’t want to challenge Pro Bowl corner Marcus Peters on the other side.
I know Roethlisberger is going to play, but it only helps the Chiefs he’s likely not at 100%. For him to be in a walking boot after the game, says a lot. It’s an injury that could limit his mobility. It’s also something that could have him one wrong hit away from being sidelined. I’ll take my chances with Kansas City in this one.
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