The Pittsburgh Steelers will battle the Kansas City Chiefs in an AFC Divisional Round matchup on Sunday night at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. These two teams met back in Week 4, when the Steelers manhandled the Chiefs 43–14 in Pittsburgh. This time around, Kansas City will be in their raucous home stadium. The Chiefs went 6–2 at Arrowhead this season. Pittsburgh (12–5) beat the Miami Dolphins in the wild-card round. Kansas City (12–4) had a first round bye because they won the AFC West in the regular season. The winner of this game will advance to the AFC championship game. Below are three reasons why the Chiefs will exact revenge on the Steelers.
Kansas City’s quarterback is Alex Smith, who might not be a world-beater, but is still very capable. The Chiefs have two weapons on offense, however, that can be lethal. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill is Kansas City’s Swiss Army knife. He had six receiving, three rushing, and two kick-return touchdowns during the regular season. Hill was also fourth in the NFL in all-purpose yards with 1,836. Kansas City will look to get Hill involved in almost every facet of the game. Another weapon for Kansas City is tight end Travis Kelce, who creates match-up problems. Kelce caught 85 passes for 1,125 yards and four touchdowns this season. Kansas City doesn’t have offensive superstars like Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger or Antonio Brown, but they do have good variety and some tricks in their bag. If the passing game is ineffective, the Chiefs can always turn to their reliable running game, as Spencer Ware rushed for 921 yards this season.
Kansas City’s strength is their defense, and it'll need to be its best on Sunday against a high-powered Steelers offense. The Chiefs defense is getting healthy at the right time, with linebacker Justin Houston (knee) and safety Eric Berry (Achilles) both expected to play. Kansas City specializes in takeaways, and they’ll want them on Sunday to give their offense a short field. The Chiefs have three elite pass rushers that need to pressure injured quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Blossoming linebacker Dee Ford had 10 sacks, while Houston and Tamba Hali have a combined six double-digit-sack seasons in their careers. Another bright spot is Daniel Sorensen, who had 55 tackles and five takeaways (three interceptions and two fumbles). The Chiefs have been one of the best teams at holding opponents to field goals, which will be crucial against a Steelers offense that's above average in the red zone.
Home Field Advantage
As mentioned above, winning in Arrowhead Stadium is daunting for road teams. Its fans have broken the world record for loudest stadium twice. The current record is 142.2 decibels, which was set by Kansas City against the New England Patriots in 2014. To put this in perspective, a jet engine at 100 feet registers at about 140 decibels. The Steelers plan to combat the crowd noise by using a tempo-based offense, which is something the Chiefs can handle. Few stadiums can impact a game quite like Arrowhead, and everyone can expects the home fans to be at their loudest Sunday night.
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