Once in a while, you’ll get games that are complete mismatches, and on paper look like they’re not really fair. The Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3, 3-0 at home) hosting the Kansas City Chiefs (1-7), arguably the worst team in the NFL, on Monday Night Football, is one of those games.
There’s nothing about the team the Chiefs have or what they’ve done this season that suggests they stand a chance against Pittsburgh, who have won their last three games and boast the best defense in the NFL, allowing only 262.6 yards per game, ranking 1st in opposition passing yards and 4th in oppositions rushing yards. They kept the Giants at -9 yards in the final 15 minutes of last week’s win against the Super Bowl champions.
It seems the only chance the Chiefs stand is running the ball, and a lot. Jamaal Charles has 634 yards on 132 carries, but with Matt Cassel being the turnover machine that he is (11 interceptions this season), the Chiefs are going to need even more from their running game, including Shaun Draughn.
Another chance for the Chiefs to make something happen in this one comes from their edge pass rushers, Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, combining for 11 sacks this season. Still, knowing that it’s the Chiefs only real threat on defense, Roethlisberger with the short passing game and his offensive line shouldn’t have too much trouble picking them up.
How about the pressure the Chiefs will be under? Matt Cassel has the most pass attempts (66) without a touchdown pass against five or more rushers this season. The Steelers have used such pressure 41.7 percent of the time this season, the third-highest rate in the NFL. Enough for you?
Another big problem for the Chiefs will be the Steelers running game, back from hiatus. Isaac Redman, the third option at the position, had a big game against the New York Giants, running for 147 yards and a touchdown. During their winning streak, after being ranked near the bottom of the pile through the first six weeks, the Steelers are averaging 155 yards per game on the ground. Smash mouth football like they love in Pittsburgh, where they haven’t lost a home MNF game in 14 straight contests.
Prediction – If the Chiefs have any sort of chance, it by not turning the ball over. But they have 29 this season so far, 21 more than the Steelers and 10 more than anyone else in the league. They can’t stop the run and aren’t that great against the pass either. Roethlisberger is playing great football and the Steelers are balanced once again all around. Hard to see the Chiefs coming away with anything from this one.