Kansas City Chiefs (8-6 SU, 9-5 ATS) at Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5 SU, 7-7 ATS)
NFL Week 16
Date and Time: December 21, 2014, 1:00 PM EST.
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA.
by Wilson, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Chiefs +3/Pitt -3
Over/Under Total: 46.5
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The Pittsburgh Steelers are now in control of their own destiny. If Pitt wins this weekend against the Chiefs they will secure a wild card spot, but if they win out by beating both KC and their final regular season contest versus the Bengals then the Steelers can actually win the AFC North. KC is still very much in the hunt as the projected 7th seed in the AFC wild card race for the playoffs and they are coming off of a convincing 31-13 win at home against the struggling Oakland Raiders. After losing to Oakland nearly a month ago it was a different looking Chiefs team this time around as both sides of the ball were played well. KC also snapped a 3-game losing streak and appears to be back on track heading into Pittsburgh. The Steelers have won 6 of their last 8 and several players have publically announced they are in a playoff frame of mind. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has recently given the team Mondays off after wins but that doesnt stop most players from getting into the facility regardless of an off-day. This game and all those remaining are crucial for both of these teamsit should be a fun game to take in on Sunday. The bottom line is whatever team loses this weekend in Pittsburgh will likely be out of the race or need a lot of help to get back in.
KCs QB, Alex Smith, put together a decent game last week versus the Raiders. Smith was 18 of 30 for 297 yards passing and 2 TDs and no INTs. RB Jamaal Charles took a big hit to the head and left the game where he went through a number of concussion tests (he returned but briefly). RB Nile Davis relieved Charles and pulled in a 70-yard TD reception from Smith and also ran for a TD to add to the Chiefs scoring. KC dominated this game and made that quite evident when they put up 21 points in 4 minutes and 42 seconds in the 3rd quarter alone. KCs offense, defense, and special teams (DeAnthony Thomas returned a punt 81 yards for a TD) were all onboard and they looked really good (they should especially against Oakland!). If the Chiefs play as well as they did against the Raiders, they should cause Pitt fits. Granted 9-5 Pittsburgh is a different animal entirely than the 2-12 Raiders but even so, KC looked that good.
If Pittsburgh wants to beat the Chiefs this Sunday the best time to put them away is in the earlier parts of the game. Kansas City allows most of their opponents points in the first three quarters with the 2nd quarter being the most suspect at nearly 7 points per contest. However, the later the game the tougher and tighter the KC defense becomes. The Chiefs are ranked No. 1 in road defense during the 4th quarter this season by
allowing only 3.14 points per game. However, the Steelers will challenge the Chiefs impressive D as Big Ben and the boys are ranked No. 1 in 2nd quarter scoring (16.83) and No. 2 in 4th quarter scoring (9.67). Pitt will have to work for every receiving yard as KCs passing D only allows 206 yards passing per road game. The Steelers passing offense averages 367 yards per game at home and will certainly be tested against a stingy KC secondary.
Pitt enters this game ranked No. 3 at home in the NFL for scoring offense at 35 points per game while KCs defense is ranked No. 5 in points allowed on the road at 19.29 per contest.
Pitt is the early -3.5 favorite at home. Big Ben will likely look to connect with WR Antonio Brown more as Brown racked up 123 yards passing in the win over Atlanta last week at the Georgia Dome. Roethlisberger also hit LeVeon Bell for 72 yards respectively. The Steelers have looked like a team on a mission these last couple of weeks and their timing is good especially with the handful of veterans who know what a team can do when they are playing well at the right time. Pitt made similar runs like the one they are on now back 2005 & 2008 both ending in superbowl wins.
Betting trends between these two teams have found the total going over in 5 of Pittsburghs last 7 games against Kansas City. Pitt is 4-1SU in their last 5 games at home versus KC. Kansas City is 3-6 SU in its last 9 games on the road. This game has all the makings of a playoff game before the playoff games even beginboth teams are hungry for post season. The Steelers will put up points but it will be their D who must answer the call and keep Alex Smith and company out of the end zone especially if Smith has time to throw. Jamaal Charles is another key for the Chiefs and he is nursing both a swollen knee and ankle but is expected to compete on Sunday. Pittsburgh is not going to give away too much at home, so the Chiefs need to take advantage of every opportunity whether its a blown coverage or a deep strike down field against the Steelers secondary. KCs defense can also play a major role in this game by causing key turnovers and turn them into points. This is a difficult game to pick as both of these teams can score and their defenses are strong. I like Pittsburgh to keep playing at the playoff level they have the last two weeks. Big Ben leads his guys to a hard fought W at home and the Pitt defense runs through KCs O-line and gets to Smith. I like Pitt to cover the points. Luck to ya.
Wilson’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread:Steelers cover.