Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2 SU, 5-0-1 ATS) vs. Kansas City Chiefs 1-5 SU,1-5 ATS)
NFL Week 7
Date/Time: Sunday, October 24, 2015 at 1:00PM EST
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
by Scott, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: PIT -2/KC +2
Over/Under Total: Off
The Pittsburgh Steelers come into Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday to face the Kansas City Chiefs. The Steelers have kept it together well without Ben Roethlisberger, going 2-1 in his absence, including a big 25-13 win over the 4-1 Cardinals on Sunday. Kansas City, meanwhile, is in big trouble at 1-5. On Sunday, they dropped their fifth in a row with a 16-10 loss at Minnesota.
For teams like the Chiefs, who actually carried some expectations into this season, being 1-5 is a tough pill to swallow. On one hand, they were very close in some of those losses, where they should have won at least two and could have won a few others. That just doesnt provide much solace to a team that has very small margin for error moving forward in 2015.
the Chiefs must also move ahead without the star of their offense over the past few yearsJamaal Charles. Even with an offensive line that hasnt opened up big holes this year, Charles was again averaging over 5 yards a carry and thats hard to replace. You hate to judge Charcandrick West based on a road game in Minnesota, but his 33-yard performance failed to inspire. You want to give him a chance, but the bottom-line is that Charles loss compromises an offense that isnt exactly bursting at the seams with offensive weapons. Knile Davis, another option who had some big games last season, only had 5 carries. Jeremy Maclin is the leagues 6th-most prolific receiver this season and Jason Kelce is an impactful tight end, but thats really about it with Charles out of the mix. And with the pressure being steadily applied to QB Alex Smith, who has taken 22 sacks, it doesnt help much.
Kansas Citys recent success was built on a pretty delicate formula, based on stiff defense, a run-heavy approach, and an emphasis placed on not committing too many miscues or turnovers. With an offensive line that is under-performing and their star back out, that throws one part of the equation into a quandary. And while the defense has been somewhat stout in spots, the secondary has been victimized, the pass-rush is lacking, and theyre not making plays or having much of a difference-making impact on games. And thats not going to get it done for Kansas City, that has grown to rely on a defense that can do a little bit of everything, including being able to make a game-changing play on occasion. Its only been five games and they were resolute against Minnesota on Sunday, holding a home Vikings team to 16 points, while bottling up Adrian Peterson, who had just 60 yards on 26 carries. You could see the D stepping up its game last week
and look for more of that at home this week in a must-win scenario. With the offense forced into a difficult situation, the defense will need to rediscover its past form for the Chiefs to stand a realistic chance from week to week.
Hats off to the Steelers for holding it together without Big Ben for three games, winning two of them. First was the LeVeon Bell last-second touchdown against the Chargers, followed by Sundays win over the one-loss Cardinals. The game featured an unlikely hero in Landry Jones, who connected twice with recently-active TD machine Martavis Bryant, whose reemergence in this offense figures to pay off, especially when Roethlisberger returns. Bryant caught 6 balls for 137 yards and looked really good.
It was announced that Landry Jones will be the assumed starter on Sunday. Big Ben is working with some different braces and trying to feel it out to see if he can contribute. Next week might be a better bet for his return and even if he did come back, he wouldnt likely be at full-power or be put in many dangerous situations. If Jones can duplicate his play from last week, they might not even consider putting Roethlisberger back in this week.
A lot has changed in Big Bens absence, as LeVeon Bell has rejoined the offense as a full-force participant. His presence is invaluable and has allowed the Steelers to thrive in Big Bens Absence. And with a pair of TD catches, Martavis Bryant reminded Pittsburgh fans as to how valuable he is in the receiving game. The offense already boasts of game-changing talent like Antonio Brown, still-useful Heath Bell, and Darrius Heyward-Bey. With the run game in high gear, this Pittsburgh offense is balanced and one that also possesses an explosive potential.
Most impressive about Pittsburgh is their fighting spirit and how they banded together in their quarterbacks absence. The run-game delivered. The offensive line stepped its game up. The defense also helped fill the void. Its a defense that has played well and is robust against both the run and the pass. This has been a transitional season for the D, with longtime coordinator Dick LeBeau departed and a lot of youth filling prominent roles that were occupied by veterans until recently.
The Chiefs are 1-5, but theyre not as bad as their record. And though theyve lost there twice already this season, Arrowhead Stadium is not an easy place to play. The Chiefs should still have some fight in them, despite the precariousness of their predicament. And if theyre going to get it together, why not at home against a Steelers team that is compromised?
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Kansas City Chiefs plus 2 points. Note this game is currently off the board. The opening line is used for Scott’s selection.
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