New series we’ll do each Sunday morning before kickoff. A prediction of what will happen if the Pittsburgh Steelers win, if they lose, and my final score prediction. My outlook on tonight’s game versus the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Steelers Will Win If…
– Le’Veon Bell catches at least seven passes. Assuming it doesn’t come in garbage time, at least. If he does, that probably means Ben Roethlisberger is getting the ball out quick and not affected by the Chiefs’ pass rush. Plus, to take it to a basic level, it means the ball is continually going to a top playmaker. And you can bet Bell will do something big with one of those reception.
– They’re able to rally to the football. Which would imply the Steelers weren’t out of position nearly as much as last week, fooled by the Philadelphia Eagles’ dizzying array of misdirection. The Chiefs don’t appear to be as complex but you can bet they’ll lean on some of those designs after seeing how much it confused Pittsburgh. Hats to the football means guys are generally in the spots they need to be and reduces YAC opportunity, the other big issue in last week’s loss.
– Receivers win contested battles. The Chiefs play of man coverage because they have the talent to match up. Marcus Peters, Ron Parker, Eric Berry, and Phillip Gaines (if he plays). Receivers are going to have to create and get separation. Chiefs don’t sit and zone and just give it to you. So this group has to step up in a big way.
If Gaines misses, rookie corner D.J. White may have to start. Matchup to exploit.
– There’s some resemblance of pressure. Not even trying to set the bar high. A couple pressures, a sack, moments where the Chiefs get behind the sticks and a chance for the secondary to capitalize on a mistake (one reason why the DBs have no INTs this season). Just something to help in this game and give some hope going forward.
The Steelers Will Lose If…
– The Chiefs’ secondary gets the better of Ben. And they’re definitely good. They’re a tough bunch and remind me a lot of the Cincinnati Bengals, who always give Ben trouble. If they get a couple of turnovers, it’s difficult to envision the Steelers pulling this one out.
– Pittsburgh struggles to contain Tyreek Hill. And this goes for the Steelers’ defense and special teams. He’s their gadget player, their Darren Sproles, and you can bet he’ll see expanded work in the gameplan after what 43 did last week. No Ryan Shazier really hurts – he was the best guy to combat him.
Hill is also an accomplished kick returner and will as big a test as any this year.
– The left side of the Steelers’ line falls apart. Big task for Alejandro Villanueva and B.J. Finney. Credit to them last week for doing a pretty good job but it’s a new week, a full game, and Chiefs’ DC Bob Sutton throws a lot at offenses. Could be issues in zone blocking rules and stunt communication/pickup. And that, clearly, is problematic should it occur.