The Pittsburgh Steelers were stung by the shock 30-9 home loss to Jacksonville last week and will need to improve ten-fold if they are to stop AFC Championship rivals Kansas City extending their perfect start to 6-0.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had his worst game in his 13 years in Pittsburgh against the Jaguars, throwing five interceptions as the visitors lowered the terrible towels.
After the game, ‘Big Ben’ said he doubted whether he can still carry this team to another Super Bowl. Whether those are his genuine thoughts or if it was an attempt to deflect the attention away from his team after a poor showing, does not matter. He needs to be back at his best this week.
The Steelers have a strong defence and enough offensive weapons to be Super Bowl contenders with Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown leading the way.
Bell was exceptional when these sides last met in last season’s play-offs, helping the Steelers scratch and claw their way to an ugly 18-16 win at Arrowhead.
That was one of two wins Pittsburgh recorded over the Chiefs last term but Kansas City have come on massively since their previous meeting.
Quarterback Alex Smith bore the brunt of the criticism after the loss to the Steelers, having tried to dink and dunk his way to victory. This year, the Chiefs have a much more expansive offence and Smith is not afraid to take those risky shots down field.
The list of options available to the No.1 ranked offence in the league will give most defensive coordinators a headache with Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt running riot during their five straight wins.
Those victories have come against some tough opposition as well, winning in New England, handing Philadelphia their only loss and last week outscoring DeShaun Watson’s Houston Texans.
An always noise Arrowhead will expect another win on Sunday and could be in for another point-fest given the talent on show, with over 47 points appealing at 10/11, especially as the Chiefs defence has not been as tight as usual.
Pittsburgh’s defence is ranked 6th in the NFL but having given up 30 points to a Jags side who don’t throw the ball, it is reasonable to think KC will cover the spread (-4.5) at 10/11.
The Steelers had their pride hurt last week so expect a response from them. However, the Chiefs have handled all obstacles put in their path so far and it is tough to see their winning streak ending on Sunday, or anytime soon!