Chris Boswell’s missed field goal against the Browns last Sunday destroyed my nearly perfect predictions, as the Steelers tied their AFC North opponent 21-all.
Last week I was picking a close Steelers victory behind a Boswell game-winning kick. While that kick missed the mark, I hit on penalties galore and Pittsburgh’s defense bringing the heat. A combined 23 accepted penalties were called for 203 yards last week. The Steelers defense also got to Browns QB Tyrod Taylor a total of 7 times.
I was also able to successfully predict that James Conner would have a huge game, JuJu Smith-Schuster would top 100 yards receiving and TV couldn’t stay away from mentioning Todd Haley’s former relationship with the Steelers.
I doubt I’ll hit as many of these guesses this week, but several of these should occur this Sunday at Heinz Field. Let’s take a look at what the Magic 8 Ball says!
Combined score of over 50 points
SCU partner MyBookie has this week’s line set at Steelers -4 and a 53 over/under. I’m going to take 50 as my personal bet, as I see the Steelers hitting the 30-point mark on offense while keeping the Chiefs under 30 on defense. If you’re good at math, that’s enough for 50-plus point combined in this game.
Steelers win by 10
That minus-four line is junk. I don’t believe this game will be as tight as last week. The Chiefs defense isn’t very strong and their offense, while potent in their win over the Chargers last Sunday, is full of young or new players to the team, including a new offensive coordinator. There’s still familiarity between these two teams, but nothing like playing a division opponent.
Expect the Steelers to walk out with a win of ten or more points.
No offensive turnovers
Another anomaly was the number of turnovers in last week’s game. The Steelers will be all over ball protection and won’t allow themselves to defeat themselves this week.
Watch as Ben Roethlisberger and company play ball control and win the takeaway battle.
Offense puts up over 500 yards
Everyone’s giving the Chiefs a lot of respect for their second-year and first-time starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes throwing four touchdowns.
What they failed to mention is how the Chargers beat themselves. LA ended up with 34:26 minutes of time of possession and 541 yards of total offense. With the Chiefs on the road for a second-straight week, I don’t see how they can slow down the Killer Bees.
Chargers running backs alone accounted for 187 receiving yards.
Good luck slowing down the Steelers machine as they welcome another weapon, TE Vance McDonald, back into their game plan. And even though the Steelers don't have Le'Veon Bell, James Conner appears to be a player who can match Bell's 164 yards-per-game average over the last three contests with KC.
2 receivers over 100
I know this seems heavily skewed toward last week’s Chargers game, but the Steelers haven’t had much trouble moving the ball against the Chiefs in the past. They have moved on from players such as Derrick Johnson and Marcus Peters, with question marks for their replacements.
If the LA game is any indication, Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster should each top 100 yards receiving. JuJu had most of his 119 yards on a 69-yard scamper against the Browns, while Antonio Brown was seven yards shy of the century mark in that game as well.
Give them good weather in a home environment, against a weaker defense, and we should see the flood gates open in the passing game (no matter who is under center).
4 more sacks
On this week’s SCU Steelers Podcast I previewed this game with Zach Metkler: we both pointed out that the interior linemen (aka the guards) are Kansas City’s soft spot. Their tackles aren’t bad, but that won’t stop the Steelers from using any of their four starting linebackers from blitzing in the center of that offensive line. Give me the big boys upfront (Heyward, Tuitt, and Hargrave) and I feel confident that the Steelers can tally four more sacks this week.
However, I don’t feel as confident as to where that pressure will come from. If I have to go one more step toward being bold, give me a sack each from Bud Dupree and TJ Watt, then add the others from a mix of Mike Hilton, Cameron Heyward, and… wait for it… Terrell Edmunds.
Big Ben plays
I’m writing this on a Friday, so I haven’t seen a final practice report nor the inactive list which comes out over the weekend, but I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is and say it will take an act of God for Ben Roethlisberger to sit out Sunday’s game.