Steelers vs. Chiefs Odds, NFL Playoff Predictions: An Over/Under Angle To Bet On Wild Card Sunday Night
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images. Pictured: Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
|Spread||Chiefs -12.5 (-110)|
|Time||8:15 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
On Super Wild Card Weekend, the Pittsburgh Steelers will try to avenge a 36-10 defeat at the hands of the Kanas City Chiefs in Week 16. Like the first meeting, Pittsburgh is a double-digit underdog.
The Steelers are essentially on a free roll after entering Week 18 with about a 4-6% chance to make the playoffs. In some ways, you can almost say Pittsburgh has overachieved for the season, given the circumstances of its playoff berth.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is fully aware of how fortunate his team is to be in this position, saying, “We’re just going to go out and play carefree, and whatever happens, happens,” Roethlisberger told the media on Wednesday.
While those comments are probably somewhat tongue in cheek, it might suggest the Steelers aren’t going to go down without a fight. If Pittsburgh is unwilling to wave a white flag, we could be in for plenty of points on Sunday night.
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Steelers vs. Chiefs Injury Report
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Steelers vs. Chiefs Matchup
|Steelers Offense||DVOA Rank||Chiefs Defense|
|Steelers Defense||DVOA Rank||Chiefs Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Steelers Need To Attack Favored Chiefs
If the Steelers want to have any chance of beating the Chiefs, they’ll need to score a ton of points. Since 2018, the Chiefs have had 17 combined losses during the regular and postseason. In 16 of those losses, Kansas City allowed at least 27 points, and 14 times it was 30 or more. Being timid offensively has rarely worked for opposing teams against the Chiefs. Perhaps that’s what Roethlisberger is implying when he says the Steelers need to play “carefree.”
While Pittsburgh’s offense has been somewhat anemic this season, we’ve seen moments when it’s been able to put up points on the board. Pittsburgh did score at least 27 points in four games this season.
The Steelers might be able to learn something from Kansas City’s last two opponents — the Bengals and the Broncos. According to rbsdm.com, both teams limited the Chiefs defense to a 44.2% success rate on first down, which dropped Kansas City to 22nd in the league during that span.
Interesting enough, both the Bengals and the Broncos went after the Chiefs differently in their respective matchups. Cincinnati attacked Kansas City through the air with 415 passing yards, while the Broncos kept it a one-score game with 191 rushing yards on the ground. Those numbers seem to encapsulate a Chiefs defense that’s been below average against both the pass and run, according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA metrics.
I think it’s worth noting that Pittsburgh outgained the Chiefs on the ground with 130 rushing yards in their Week 16 meeting, despite having 10 fewer carries. However, the Steelers could only manage 10 points because they were 1-for-4 inside the red zone.
Perhaps help could be on the way in the form of wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, there is a chance that Pittsburgh activates Smith-Schuster from the injured reserve list this weekend. His presence in the slot could give the Steelers more offensive dynamism inside the red zone should he play.
Chiefs Offense Enters Playoffs on a Roll
There were a few periods this season where it looked like the Chiefs offense hit a wall.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes labored through a stretch that saw him throw at least one interception in seven straight games. Then, there was also a spell when Kansas City failed to score more than 22 points in five of six games.
Those issues now appear to be behind the Chiefs, who scored at least 28 points in five straight games to end the regular season.
Much of the Chiefs’ offensive transformation has to do with the play of their quarterback. Over the past nine games, Mahomes has drastically cut down his turnovers, with only three interceptions during that span. He also didn’t throw a pick in the final three games to close out the season. Mahomes has registered a Total QBR of at least 67.5 in each of his past five games.
One of those games was against the Steelers, against whom he finished with a 77.1 Total QBR. And while the Chiefs racked up 36 points in the contest, they were without All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce, who failed to clear COVID-19 protocols.
Kansas City was also somewhat shorthanded at wide receiver. Although Tyreek Hill cleared COVID protocols and managed to play against Pittsburgh, Mahomes told the media afterward that the shifty wide receiver felt exhausted throughout. That explains why Hill played only 29 of 69 offensive snaps and was targeted just twice, leading to only 19 receiving yards.
Lastly, a glance at the box shows that the Chiefs didn’t need to get out of second gear after jumping out to a 30-0 lead seven minutes into the third quarter. Kansas City essentially opted to run the ball for the remainder of the game, with 17 of their next 21 plays on the ground.
Steelers vs. Chiefs Predictions
In two career games against the Steelers, Patrick Mahomes has nine touchdowns without throwing an interception. Kansas City scored a total of 78 points in those games.
When you consider the recent head-to-head numbers with Mahomes and how the Chiefs are playing heading into the playoffs, I don’t see how Pittsburgh can slow Kansas City down. The Chiefs should also benefit from having Travis Kelce available and a healthier Tyreek Hill this time around.
As for the Steelers, it’s increasingly likely they’ll need to score points to keep pace with Kansas City. I’d look for Pittsburgh to take more risks in this game and play fast and loose, which I believe is what Ben Roethlisberger seemed to insinuate when he met the media. With a little more luck in the red zone, Pittsburgh should be able to put up more points in this rematch, especially if JuJu Smith-Schuster plays.
Since we’re looking at the total, we also want to know if the weather will play a role in the game. As things stand, the temperature in Kansas City is expected to be around 31 degrees with no precipitation.
According to our Action Labs database, when the Steelers are in the playoffs with a temperature of 31 or lower and and a total of 46.5 or lower, the over is on a 7-0 run dating back to 2005.
As a result, I’ll look to get involved in the total, and I would play the over at 46 or better.
Pick: Over 46 | Bet to: 46.5
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