The Pittsburgh Steelers already have a win under their belts in the postseason, but that merely matches their success of last season when they defeated the Bengals in the Wildcard Round during the 2015 season. They went on to lose the following week in the Divisional Round to the eventual Super Bowl champions, the Broncos in Denver, in large part due to a late fumble in a low-scoring game.
The Steelers are looking to better their success from last season, stacking postseason wins and returning to the AFC Championship game for the first time since the 2010 season. That year, they actually had a bye week to work with, and they went on to the Super Bowl, but ultimately lost to the Packers—another game that was influenced by a late fumble.
The Steelers have been a common sight in the AFC Championship game over the years, having appeared in said game more than any other team, but they have had their successes and defeats on that stage, to be sure—though they have won eight of them—and right now, their current obstacle is the Divisional Round and the Chiefs.
The Steelers and Chiefs have only played against each other once in the postseason, more than two decades ago, which Pittsburgh lost in overtime, so there is not a lot of history there. The two teams have faced each other a few teams in the past three years, however, with the Steelers winning two of the three, including this year’s blowout victory at Heinz Field.
The Steelers have played in 23 prior Divisional Round playoff games heading into today’s contest in the Super Bowl era, winning 15 of them for a 15-8 overall record. So we do know that they have historically done well on this level.
Prior to last season’s Divisional Round loss to the Broncos, in fact, the Steelers actually won four consecutive games in this round dating back to Ben Roethlisberger’s rookie season. They also won the following year and during the 2008 and 2010 Super Bowls. They went to the Super Bowl in the latter three instances.
Only 10 of their 23 prior Divisional Round games were on the road, however, as today’s game will be. In their previous 10 road trips during this round, they have only emerged the victor three times, with a 3-7 road record. They have won one of two such games during Roethlisberger’s career.
Arrowhead Stadium is a notoriously difficult place to play, and the Kansas City team has not hosted a playoff game since 2003, so you can expect that it will be accompanied by an intense atmosphere that could factor into the game quite easily.
Since 2013, teams have averaged more than four points fewer in Kansas City than in their other road games in that respective season, according to the Chiefs’ website. In order for the Steelers to make it to their 16th Conference Championship game in their history, they will have to overcome that home-field advantage.