When the Steelers play the Chiefs in the No. 7 vs. No. 2 matchup in the AFC wild-card playoffs on Sunday night (8:15 p.m. ET, NBC), they will be looking to extend the career of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Meanwhile, Kansas City will be looking to begin its run toward a third consecutive conference championshp and Super Bowl appearance.
Roethlisberger and Pittsburgh got the breaks needed to get into the playoffs in Week 18, including beating Batlimore in overtime. Kansas City lost the No. 1 seed by falling to Cincinnati in Week 17.
While Roethlisberger and his offense have been limited scoring points despite some good skill position talent, Mahomes and Chiefs have gotten their groove back by diversifying and balancing their attack, including more of the running game.
Here’s everything to know about betting on Steelers vs. Chiefs in the 2022 NFL playoffs, including updated odds, trends and our prediction for the wild-card game.
Steelers vs. Chiefs odds for NFL playoff game
(betting odds per FanDuel Sportsbook)
The Chiefs have been double-digit favorites since the initial lines as they are also the team to beat in the AFC again ahead of Super Bowl 56. The Steelers still didn’t impress all that much offensively the final two weeks. There’s also the recency of Roethlsiberger falling flat in the wild-card round against the Browns last year and a big loss at Kansas City in the regular season.
Steelers vs. Chiefs all-time series
Despite the Chiefs beating the Steelers 36-10 in Week 16, the Steelers still hold a commanding 23-13 overall edge in 36 meetings. The Chiefs have won two in a row, both with Mahomes, as they beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh in 2018, 42-37. Before Mahomes, the Steelers had won three straight and six of seven.
Three trends to know
—73 percent of bettors think the Steelers will cover the spread given how big of a cushion the Chiefs have been given, despite the decided rout from Week 16 in recent memory.
—When it comes to the point total, bettors are split 50-50 on whether the Steelers and Chiefs can score more or less vs. what’s needed.
—The Steelers are 5-5 against the spread and 5-4-1 straight up in their past 10 games with the total going over in half of those games, five. The Chiefs are 6-4 ATS while going 9-1 SU in their past 10 games with six of those games going over.
Three things to watch
The Steelers’ running game
Pittsburgh, even with fine rookie feature back Najee Harris, finished 29th in rushing offense, averaging only 93.1 yards per game. Kansas City gave up 117.6 on average, which was only 21st. The Steelers did rush for 130 yards in the first matchup. They need to build on that to settle Big Ben better this time.
The new Mahomes
The Chiefs’ offense hasn’t been passing on point everywhere downfield to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce of late. But that doesn’t mean Mahomes isn’t playing well and much better than earlier in the season. He’s protecting the ball and being patient with the big plays, getting more backs and receivers involved. This makes even more dangerous, with higher reward and lower risk.
Andy Reid vs. Mike Tomlin
These are the two most tenured AFC coaches this side of Bill Belichick. They both have won Super Bowls and been to others and know how to coach at this time of the year. Reid’s track record has been better of late, but Tomlin did a bang-up job just to get his team back in the tournament. The Chiefs need to make sure they don’t open the door by not stepping on the gas enough because the Steelers should pull out all the stops playing with house money.
Stat that matters
146.1. That’s how many rushing yards on average the Steelers gave up during the regular season. That was terrible, worst in the league at No. 32. Consider no other team ranked in the bottom 10 even made the playoffs. Kansas City, with more running in the second half, got up to No. 16 in rushing offense (115 yards per game). The Chiefs pounded out 127 yards with their committee on the Steelers in Week 16. That led to a pristine and hyper-efficient game by Mahomes.
Steelers vs. Chiefs prediction
The Steelers don’t belong in this game because they are totally overmatched. It’s nice they have T.J. Watt in their pass rush, but it’s hard to think they can stop the Chiefs from doing mostly what they want offensively again. It’s hard to outduel Mahomes with a limited downfield passing game and the Chiefs’ defense has preyed on lesser offensive opponents. Look for Big Ben to get roughed up in his final game for Pittsburgh, with Kansas City making a strong opening statement ahead of the divisional round.
Chiefs 33, Steelers 19
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