Game Predictions & Player Projections - PIT vs. KC

David Dorey, @DMDorey

Prediction: PIT 27, KC 23 (Line: KC by -1.5, O/U = 44.5)

UPDATE: Ladarius Green remains doubtful to play because of his concussion again this week. Due to weather conditions, this game is moved to 8:20 PM EST instead of 1:05 PM EST and will be the last game of the day instead of the first. The game is forescasted for around 33 degrees with light snow and some sleet possible. The weather may affect the passing game but there is almost no wind.

This is the second meeting for these teams. The Steelers won 43-14 when the Chiefs visited in Week 4. The Steelers are 5-3 on the road and have won their last seven games. The Chiefs are 6-2 at home and come off their Round 1 bye. Though by no means a certainty, four of the last five years have seen one home team lose and this is the closest line of the weekend and the Chiefs are not even getting the standard three points for home field.

The weather calls for around 30 degrees with a chance for light sleet.

Pittsburgh Steelers

1 @WAS 38-16 10 DAL 30-35
2 CIN 24-16 11 @CLE 24-9
3 @PHI 3-34 12 @IND 28-7
4 KC 43-14 13 NYG 24-14
5 NYJ 31-13 14 @BUF 27-20
6 @MIA 15-30 15 @CIN 24-20
7 NE 16-27 16 BAL 31-27
8 BYE --- 17 CLE 27-24
9 @BAL 14-21      
News | Statistics | Roster
PIT vs MIA Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 280,2
RB Le'Veon Bell 90,1 7-60.1
WR Cobi Hamilton 3-40
WR Antonio Brown 6-80,1
WR Eli Rogers 4-50
TE Jesse James 2-20
TE Ladarius Green
PK Chris Boswell 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Steelers just went nuts on the Chiefs in Week 4. They passed for 300 yards and five touchdowns and ran for 151 yards in Le'Veon bell's first game back from suspension. Since losing to the Cowboys in Week 10, the Steelers have been racking up the wins with at least 24 points per game and usually holding opponents to only two touchdowns or fewer. Certainly the Chiefs have plenty of reason to want revenge from their spanking in Pittsburgh and there's no surprising them with the offense. But the Steelers are playing a very balanced game and have been very hot down the stretch.

QUARTERBACK : Ben Roethlisberger had his best game of the year when he passed for 300 yards and five touchdowns on the visiting Chiefs. He has not thrown for more than 300 yards since Week 10 mostly because the rushing game has been devastating. Roethlisberger's production has been all over the map this year with six games ending with only one or zero passing scores but the Steelers keep on winning however it has needed to happen.

Roethlisberger was in a walking boot because of a foot issue but is not expected to be limited in this game.

RUNNING BACK : Le'Veon Bell is almost the leading fantasy running back despite missing the first three weeks. He's been good for at least 120 total yards in each of the last eight games and scored 11 times over that span. His worst road game since Week 10 was still 131 yards in Cincinnati. DeAngelo Williams is healthy again but Bell takes nearly every touch anyway. Bell ran for 144 yards on just 18 carries and caught five passes for 34 yards in Week 4.

WIDE RECEIVER : Antonio Brown was held to only four catches for 64 yards but scored twice on the Chiefs in Week 4. Darrius Heyward-Bey scored from 31-yards out on his only reception while Markus Wheaton scored from 30-yards out on his only catch. Eli Rogers did not play that week but did score in the most recent road game. Cobi Hamilton scored once in Week 17 but has been good for only a single catch per week. Brown remains nearly unstoppable and comes off a 124 yard, two touchdown effort over the visiting Dolphins last week.

TIGHT END : .Ladarius Green remains in the concussion protocol and did not play in the first meeting with the Chiefs. Jesse James scored in that tilt but only ended with 15 yards on two catches. I'll hold Green out until he is cleared.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: That five-touchdown bombing of the Chiefs was very out of character for a defense that only allowed seven touchdowns at home all year. What primarily comes into play again is Bell rushing the ball against a defense that had already allowed nine touchdowns at home to running backs. Bell was playing in his first game back last time. Now he's been on an incredible streak of high fantasy point games.

Though he's unlikely to toss five more scores, Roethlisberger can still have a moderate to good game here. The only elite quarterback who played there was Drew Brees who passed for 367 yards and three touchdowns in Week 7. Roethlisberger is safe for a couple of scores and at least 250 passing yards with upside for more. It will depend on how well they can contain Bell.

Antonio Brown is still the only notable wideout but one that has already succeeded against them and that usually steps up in bigger games as he did last week. The other wideouts are all potential scorers but as last time showed, it may be in their only catch in the game.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 7 7 5 15 20 14
Preventing Fantasy Points KC 15 15 22 7 9 5

Kansas City Chiefs

1 SD 33-27 10 @CAR 20-17
2 @HOU 12-19 11 TB 17-19
3 NYJ 24-3 12 @DEN 30-27
4 @PIT 14-43 13 @ATL 29-28
5 BYE --- 14 OAK 21-13
6 @OAK 26-10 15 TEN 17-19
7 NO 27-21 16 DEN 33-10
8 @IND 30-14 17 @SD 37-27
9 JAC 19-14      
News | Statistics | Roster
PIT at KC Rush Catch Pass
QB Alex Smith 20 260,2
RB Spencer Ware 60 3-20
RB Charcandrick West 20 1-10
WR Jeremy Maclin 5-50
WR Tyreek Hill 20 5-60,1
WR Curtis Conley   3-30
TE Travis Kelce 8-90,1
PK Cairo Santos 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Chiefs may have been destroyed back in Week 4 but only lost two games since and both were by only two points. These Chiefs also won in Atlanta (by a point). The defense has been the savior in most games but they have scored 30+ points five times this year including the last two weeks. The offense remains devoid of any star players aside from Travis Kelce but consistently have been good enough to win games.

QUARTERBACK : Alex Smith ended with one of his best games of the year when he passed for 287 yards and two scores in Week 4. Smith hasn't broken 300 yards since the season opener and has not thrown for more than two scores in any game this year. Smith has added five rushing touchdowns including one in each of the last three games played. His goal line success is as much about the troubles with the rushing offense as it is a planned play.

RUNNING BACK : Spencer Ware ran for 82 yards on 13 carries but only caught one pass for 14 yards in Pittsburgh this year. Ware scored in only one of the last nine games and never rushed for more than 70 yards since midseason. Charcandrick West has been a minor player though he was allowed more work in the final two weeks. All combined, the running backs have only rushed in five touchdowns this year and broken 100 rushing yards just once.

WIDE RECEIVER : This has been one of the weaker units all year. In Pittsburgh, Albert Wilson ended with five catches for 52 yards and Chris Conley caught six passes for 70 yards - his best game of the year. Jeremy Maclin reeled in five passes for 78 yards but none of them scored. Tyreek Hill has become a much bigger factor now. He scored once on his five catches for 24 yards in Pittsburgh and ended the regular season with six rushing and three receiving touchdowns. He also scored three times on returns as the Chiefs most dangerous player but rarely ends with more than around 65 total yards.

TIGHT END : Travis Kelce only gained 23 yards on five catches but scored once in the first meeting with the Steelers. He's become the best fantasy tight end thanks to topping 100 yards in five of his last six games.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Steelers are weaker against the rush than any other facet of the defense but the Chiefs have one of the weakest units in the NFL and already were only marginally successful. There is no reason to expect that Ware can suddenly blow up this week.

Smith is not going to throw for more than two scores because he never does. Kelce should see more success this time around since he is already a huge part of the game plan and faces a weaker part of the secondary than the wideouts will. Hill is a wildcard but one that hurts their opponents in every game as either a rusher, receiver or returner. Kelce is the most likely to have a game of any real note here but Hill can never be counted out. The Chiefs defense and special teams likes to score but it is much less likely here against one of the best special teams units in the league and a good defense that already handled them with surprising ease in the first meeting.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points KC 23 25 25 7 6 1
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 6 25 5 19 11 3

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