Pittsburgh Steelers (12-5; 10-6-1 ATS: 7-10 O/U) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (12-4; 9-7 ATS; 6-10 O/U)
AFC Divisional Playoff: Sunday, January 15, 2017 at 8:20pm EST
Line: Kansas City -1.5
The Kansas City Chiefs will host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Divisional Playoff Sunday night from Arrowhead Stadium. The Steelers handled the Dolphins 30-12 in last week’s Wildcard game, and the Chiefs earned a first round bye after finishing the year with a 12-4 record. The Steelers beat the Chiefs 43-14 in week four. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 300 yards with a whopping five touchdowns, and Alex Smith tallied 287 passing yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
Steelers Offense Firing on all Cylinders
The Pittsburgh Steelers scored on their first three possessions of the game and never looked back in a convincing 30-12 home win over Miami on Sunday. The Steelers’ star players were all their best against a Miami team that really had no chance. Ben Roethlisberger was solid, throwing for 197 yards with two touchdowns but he did toss two interceptions. His interceptions have been a bit of a problem, throwing eight picks over his last five games however it has not hurt the Steelers in the win column. The Dolphins had no answer for Le’Veon Bell who rushed for 167 yards with two touchdowns last week. Bell is a dominant back and he should do damage next week as the Chiefs have had some trouble stopping the run, and Bell torched the Chiefs for 144 rushing yards in the week four win. Antonio Brown was outstanding in the win over Miami as well, making five grabs for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Brown made four catches for 64 yards in the week four win over the Chiefs and tallied 1284 receiving yards on the season. Pittsburgh is very dangerous in both the air and on the ground, and are now averaging 24.9 points per game, good for 11th overall.
The Steelers defense came up big in the win over Miami, allowing one one touchdown and held Jay Ajayi who torched them earlier this year to only 33 rushing yards. Pittsburgh’s defense had no problem against the Chiefs defense in week three, and they have to be confident coming into this game. The Steelers are conceding an average of 20.4 points per game, ranking them 10th in the NFL.
Chiefs Host First Playoff Game Since 2011
The Kansas City Chiefs are in the Divisional playoff round for the second straight season hoping for a better result this time around after losing 27-20 to the Patriots last year. Alex Smith had his typical season, collecting 3502 passing yards with a 15:8 TD to INT ratio, and added five rushing touchdowns. Smith had some success against the Steelers in the week four loss, throwing for 284 years which is above his average yardage per game. The Chiefs will likely pass the ball frequently in this contest with Travis Kelce seeing a lot of targets from Smith. Kelce is one of the best tight ends in the game and tallied a career-high 1125 receiving yards this season. The Steelers will have Justin Gilbert covering Kelce which worked for Pittsburgh in week four, holding him to only 23 receiving yards. Spencer Ware had a solid year, rushing for 921 yards in 14 games, and recorded 82 rushing yards against the Steelers in week four. Kansas City is scoring an average of 24.3 points per game, ranking them 13th in the NFL.
The Chiefs defense will have their hands full in this contest going against the ‘Big Three’ of Roethlisberger, Bell, and Brown. They will need to find a way to stop Le’Veon Bell, and if they can slow him down their chances of winning go up dramatically. Kansas City did not really excel in one specific area defensively, but finished the year allowing an average of only 19.4 points per game, good for seventh in the NFL.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are:
- 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 divisional playoff games.
- 4-0 ATS in their last 4 road games.
- 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
The Kansas City Chiefs are:
- 1-7 ATS in their last 8 playoff games.
- 0-4 ATS in their last 4 home playoff games.
- 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games after conceding more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
I am taking the Steelers in this one. I really like the Steelers dangerous offense that can do damage on the ground and in the air. The Chiefs have not been good at stopping the run, allowing an average of 121 rushing yards per game, and I think Bell is gonna put up big numbers similar to when he rushed for 144 yards against the Chiefs in week four. Furthermore, the Chiefs offense does not impress me, they own the 19th ranked passing game and 15th ranked running game, so I am confident the Steelers can hold them down. The Steelers offense is just too powerful with their many weapons on offense and I am confident they win this game.
Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers +1.5
The Chiefs play solid defense but they do not particularly excel in one area. The Steelers are dangerous on both sides of the ball, and Bell already rushed for 144 yards against the Chiefs this season. The Steelers offense is firing on all cylinders right now and they have scored 24 or more points in eight straight games, plus the over is 16-5-1 ATS in the Steelers last 22 playoff games. The Chiefs offense scored a combined 70 points over their last two games so I expect them to have success on offense as well.