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Steelers Vs. Chiefs: 5 Keys To Victory In Week 16

The Pittsburgh Steelers will play their fifteenth regular season game of 2021 on the road on Sunday afternoon against the Kansas City Chiefs, and they’ll likely enter that contest marked at around a 10-point underdog. Below are five key things that I believe the Steelers will need to do in the game Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium to come away with a much-needed eighth win of 2021 season.

Pocket Patrick Plan – Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is one of the best at his position in the NFL when it comes to extending the play. The Steelers defense will probably want to rush Mahomes smart on Sunday and be careful about letting him escape pockets due to pressure. The best way to maybe get Mahomes to make a mistake is actually by letting him throw in rhythm as part of designed pass plays. On top of everything else, Mahomes can scramble with the football, so that’s yet another reason to make sure the Steelers’ defense practices smart containment on the road on Sunday.

No Thrill From Hill – It sounds like the Chiefs will have wide receiver Tyreek Hill on Sunday after he missed time on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Hill is one of the most explosive wide receivers in the NFL right now, and he can register home run plays on both short and deep throws. The Steelers’ defense can’t let Hill get loose on Sunday. He’s likely going to get his five to ten catches on Sunday, but if most of them stay under 20 yards and none wind up in the end zone, the Steelers will have a much better shot at winning the road game.

Middling Around – The Steelers’ rushing offense hasn’t been great this season. Even so, the running game needs to be attempted early and often against the Chiefs on Sunday. The Chiefs’ run defense has had warts throughout this season, especially when it comes to middle-of-the-line runs, runs from left guard to right guard. The Chiefs have had a few issues these last few weeks when it comes to their inside linebackers missing time due to COVID and minor injuries. That’s yet another reason for the Steelers’ offense to run up the middle on Sunday.

Watch The Wasteline – The Steelers offense wasted a lot of plays in their Week 15 win, as around a dozen of them never had a shot at succeeding for one reason or another. Poor execution, drops, design, penalties, etc. Wasted plays against the Chiefs will easily result in a loss, especially if Kansas City is able to put up more than 19 points. The Steelers’ offense needs to be as crisp as it has been all season against the Chiefs on Sunday, especially with the game being played on the road and in a very loud venue. The Steelers might get a break when it comes to a few Chiefs players not being able to return from COVID. If that’s the case, it will be a golden opportunity to pull off a road upset. The only way that happens, however, is if the offense doesn’t waste a high percentage of plays.

Special Opportunities – The Chiefs will be without their usual kicker and punter on Sunday, and that could wind up being a big deal with either a field goal or punt. The Steelers have made a few plays on special teams this season when it comes to blocks, and the team certainly might need to steal a possession or two on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. Special teams coordinator Danny Smith needs to really try to scheme something up that might take advantage of a few timing or lack of practice issues that the Chiefs’ field goal and punt teams might have on Sunday.

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