Despite the end score, the Kansas City Chiefs were dominant on Sunday Night Football in Week Five. The Houston Texans managed to score on a couple deep balls late in the game. But for the most part, rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson didn’t step up in key situations. This led to a game where Kansas City had more chances—and thus more scores. However, the Chiefs-Texans matchup gave insight on key pressure points where Kansas City might break this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The last time the Chiefs played the Steelers was in the Divisional round of last year’s playoffs. Chiefs fans will remember it as a brutal loss. The Steelers could move the wall seemingly at will on offense, while their defense terrorized the Chiefs offense. This year, however, the Steelers look utterly beatable. Offensive production (both rushing and passing) are anemic at best. At worst, the Steelers cannot stop turning the ball over. On defense, Pittsburgh still has plenty of tools but teams have been able to run on them recently.
The Chiefs are still running an interior offensive line that consists of backups. They look better than expected so far, but the Steelers have a stout defensive front. Given Pittsburgh’s tendency to blitz early and often, the Chiefs will have their hands full on pass protection.
Chiefs cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Terrance Mitchell have been giving up more than their fair share of scores in the last few games. They don’t give up many receptions, but the ones that get away always seem to be huge. That being said, don’t expect the success that the Texans had on Hail Mary passes to be the norm.
Kansas City still has speed threats Tyreek Hill, Albert Wilson, and De’Anthony Thomas, who are moved all over the field to any position. That being said, the loss of Chris Conley to an Achilles tendon rupture is going to hurt. Conley offered great blocking and a reliable outside presence. The Chiefs may struggle on third down this week.
This week, Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger alluded that he might not have what it takes anymore. While he might still have the arm to punish the Chiefs, his decision-making has been lacking. If he doesn’t bring his fire on Sunday, it might get ugly for Pittsburgh.
Le’Veon Bell was one of the league’s elite running backs over the last few seasons, but in his action this season it just hasn’t been there. Maybe the Steelers offensive line is blocking worse than normal. Maybe he just isn’t getting enough touches to get into a rhythm. Whatever the reason, Bell may not be as much of a threat as he used to be.
The Chiefs finally got a score off a punt return against the Texans, and haven’t given up a return score in years. Look for Dave Toub’s unit to be characteristically opportunistic. A big return might crack this game wide open for the Chiefs.