The Pittsburgh Steelers have a lot at stake as they return to Heinz Field for their 15th game of the season against the Kansas City Chiefs. If they emerge victorious, securing their 10th win of the season, they will also secure their entry into the postseason for the first time in the past three years.
Thus, it goes without saying that the Steelers will be highly motivated to get the job done in front of the Pittsburgh faithful after stringing together a pair of road victories over the course of the past two weeks.
The offense will certainly play its part, but it won’t necessarily be easy against one of the toughest red zone defenses in the league. But it’s been no secret that the Steelers offense has been able to operate more smoothly at home than on the road. That no doubt will have its role to play in this game.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger didn’t throw a touchdown pass for the second game of the season, but he played well all the same, throwing, for the most part, with accuracy while connecting on key throws and driving down the field.
He did command two touchdown drives, both of which ended in Le’Veon Bell touchdown runs. The first came from just a yard out, but the second came from the 13-yard line on the counter power run. It was the only time in the game in which the Steelers not only perfectly executed the scheme, but had caught the defense in the right formation to take advantage of.
Bell didn’t have an easy time of things on the ground for much of the game, but he still found success as a receiver. It’s been rare that he hasn’t found some opportunity or another in at least one of those areas in each game, such is the danger he presents to opposing defenses.
One key matchup to watch in this game will be what is going on at the right side of the offensive line as Marcus Gilbert returns to the lineup after sitting out the past three games with a knee injury. Mike Adams started in his place and did little to nothing to suggest that he should stay in the lineup.
Gilbert will not get an easy first assignment back, however, with Justin Houston going up against him, who is tied for the league lead in sacks. He provides the majority of the Chiefs’ pressure on the quarterback, but also plays the run well.
Whether or not Matt Spaeth plays could have an underrated impact on how the team plays, particularly when it comes to running the ball. He has been a critical component of some of the team’s best running games this season, so if he sits out, that will be damaging to the Steelers’ efforts on the ground.