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 this afternoon’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Steelers Will Win If…
– Todd Haley uses shifts and motions to create matchup problems. As we outlined in our scouting report, the Chiefs’ front seven often aligns based on the strength of the formation. They don’t play sides like Pittsburgh. That gives Haley the chance to trade someone like the tight end to adjust the strength and put the Chiefs out of position and away from what they want to do.
Really crucial element that hasn’t been talked about.
– The Chiefs’ aggressive defense gets to Ben Roethlisberger. Bob Sutton runs a lot of similar blitz concepts to Keith Butler. They still have a surprisingly few amount of sacks but they’re able to create pressure in a variety of ways with a ton of sub-packages. Still worries me, even if the Steelers’ offensive line has been amazing for nearly the whole year.
– Special teams is serviceable. Doesn’t have to be great. It probably won’t be. But it can’t be the reason why the Steelers lose this game. I don’t need to say much about this because we all know the threat Tyreek Hill is. It does go beyond that. Overall field position is going to be important where weather could hamper both offenses. The Steelers’ offense can’t get put in bad field position and if they do, they need to make some headway and at least show the ability to flip the field.
Bottom line though, they have to be solid. Not great. But not like last week.
The Steelers Will Lose If…
– They can’t run the ball like last week. The Chiefs’ run defense is only a tick better than the Miami Dolphins and we all saw how that turned out last week. It’s not just about balance, or using run to set up the pass, it’s just about being able to run the football when you have to. The line, tight ends, and Le’Veon Bell all have to be strong.
If they can’t, and the Steelers struggle, it’s going to create a problem in a game where weather, best case scenario, is only tolerable.
– Weather limits the deep ball. Don’t want to make excuses, both teams have to deal with the conditions, but there’s no question any wind/precipitation is going to hurt the Steelers’ offense a bit more. They won’t be the vertical threat they like to be, similar to what went down in the first matchup against the Cleveland Browns. Steelers’ offense scored just 17 points that day against a bad defense.
– They can’t solve Travis Kelce a second time around. You can bet the Chiefs are gameplanning to get Kelce more involved in the offense this time than what happened in the first meeting. Steelers completely shut him down in that one. Seeing a lot of RPOs that can give him the ball quickly and let his size/speed win in space.
It’s easy to think Justin Gilbert can shut him down again but that’s already out there on tape. And when Gilbert was used, it was in a “little nickel” with four cornerbacks and just one safety. Each snap with him out there was Cover 1. Do you do it again with the same scheme, knowing the Chiefs expect it? Or do you change it up?
I think we’ll see some of Sean Davis rolled down on Kelce. Davis has played over the slot in base defense before when Pittsburgh doesn’t want to/can’t go subpackage so it’s not a completely foreign role to him. Should be interesting to see how Butler approaches things.