PITTSBURGH (93-7 the Fan) —
Steelers vs Kansas City Chiefs, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA, Monday 8:30 p.m. ESPN
Spread: Pittsburgh (-11.5) 43 O/U
All-time regular season series: The Steelers lead the all-time series 18-9 and hold a 8 to 4 advantage in Pittsburgh.
Last Meeting: Nov 27, 2011 in Kansas City, Steelers won 13-9.
The Kansas City Chiefs share the worst record in football with the Jacksonville Jaguars at 1-7. They also can stake claim to one of the more impressive stats that you will hear this football season. The Kansas City Chiefs have played 488 minutes and 33 seconds this season and have yet to hold the lead during that time. The Chiefs lone win came in an overtime game in week 3, in which they kicked a field goal to win the game. That is the only time all season in which they have had more points than their opponent. The Chiefs have given up 240 points in 8 games, only 3 other teams has given up more, but 2 of those teams have yet to get their bye week. The Chiefs have the second worst scoring margin in the NFL, being a -107 so far this season. Kansas City has lost 5 straight games and have not scored more than 20 points in a game during that stretch. The Chiefs have only played one other AFC North team so far this year, losing to the Ravens 9-6 at home in week 5.
The Steelers are 0-2 against teams from the AFC West this year, losing road games to Denver in the season opener and to Oakland 2 weeks later. After that loss in Oakland the Steelers had their bye week and have been 4-1 since that point. This will be the 1st of 2 straight prime time scheduled games for Pittsburgh with the Ravens coming to town next Sunday night. That game opens a 3 game stretch against division opponents.
Offensive Player to Watch: Jamaal Charles, Running Back
Charles is pretty much the only threat the Chiefs have on offense. He has run for 634 yards so far this season despite battling injuries and getting next to no help from the Chiefs passing game to take the focus of the defenses away from him. Charles had a season ending knee injury in week 2 of last season after gaining over 1,800 yards from scrimmage and scoring 8 times during the 2010 season. The Chiefs back got of to a solid start this season, running for 233 yards and a score in the teams only win of the season, but with the Chiefs finding themselves behind so often in games they have not been able to run the ball as much as they would like. Charles only has one other 100+ yard game this season, coming against Baltimore, one of the worst rush defenses in the league statistically.
Defensive Player to Watch: Tamba Hali, Linebacker
Hali is a name many people from the Pittsburgh area may remember from his days as a defensive end at Penn State. Hali now plays outside linebacker in the Kansas City 3-4 defense. Despite playing on a defense that is allowing 30 points per game, Hali is 6th on the team in tackles, 2nd in sacks with 5 and has also forced a fumble this year.
Strengths: Rushing Attack
The Chiefs rank 3rd in the NFL averaging just under 150 yards per game on the ground. Kansas City has run for just under 1,200 yards so far this season as a team and have scored 5 times running the ball. Behind Charles are two quality backups in Shaun Draughn and Peyton Hillis.
Lots to choose from here for the Chiefs, but the one that stands out the most is the play of their QB, or should I say QB’s. Kansas City has used 2 different quarterbacks this season due to both inefficiency and injuries. Matt Cassel was the starter on opening day and he isn’t someone who will knock your socks off, but he was knocked unconscious against Baltimore in week 5. In his absences, back up Brady Quinn, yes THAT Brady Quinn, has thrown for 213 yards in 44 attempts and 3 interceptions to go with his zero touchdown passes. Quinn will be back on the bench this week as Cassel has recovered from his concussion and will be the starting QB this Monday night against the Steelers.
He Said It:
“It has been a rollercoaster season.” – Matt Cassel, Kansas City Quarterback describing the season his team has had in the 1st half of the year.