Chiefs-Steelers: 5 questions with the enemy

Editor’s Note: As we head into Sunday’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers, we welcome Jeff Hartman from Behind the steel curtain – our sister site SBNation covering the Pittsburgh Steelers – for Five questions with the enemy.

1) From the outside, the Steelers depend heavily on their defense. Has it been the case?

If you mean depend on defense because offense can’t do the job, yes you would be right. If you mean to depend on defense because it’s dominant, no, you’d be wrong.

This Steelers defense is far from the dominant force they once were. Sure, TJ Watt, Cam Heyward, and Minkah Fitzpatrick are great, but they have some serious flaws. Prior to Week 6, the Steelers were in the Top 10 on the rush defense. Now, entering Week 16, they’re in the bottom five in the league for rushing yards allowed per game. If the Steelers can slow down the race and force teams into some obvious passing situations, they are a very strong group. But it’s also a gigantic “if” when it comes to this defense.

If the defense can bend, but not break, the attack proved capable of trading late in the game and coming back from behind in the second half.

2) How did the Steelers cover up Big Ben’s flaws?

Again, I have to say they didn’t. Anyone who watches NFL football knows what Ben Roethlisberger’s limits are at this point in his career. He’s a pocket passer now, not because he chooses to be, but because he isn’t able to handle the pocket and escape pressure like he once did. Roethlisberger still has the arm to make the necessary shots, but either he or offensive coordinator Matt Canada is avoiding the middle midfielder like the plague. All of Roethlisberger’s throws are fast or out of the numbers. There are very few that target midfield, and it’s not as if the offensive doesn’t have weapons capable of exploiting that area of ​​the pitch.

Did the Steelers cover up Roethlisberger’s flaws? They have done their best with what they have, but the flaws are still quite glaring.

3) Who do you fear the Chiefs offense from if Kelce and or Hill can’t go?

For me, this answer is easy. Any running backs you have on your list. The Steelers don’t discriminate when it comes to giving up rushing yards. No Derrick Henry in week 15? No worries, the Steelers still allowed the Titans to go for 201 yards. Dalvin Cook coming back from a nasty shoulder parting? Regardless, the Steelers allowed him to rush for a career total in Week 14 of Thursday Night Football.

If the Chiefs are smart and Kelce and Hill are offside, they run the game until the Pittsburgh defense proves they can stop it. That’s what I fear for anyone playing for the Steelers in the 2021 regular season.

4) JuJu refused the Chiefs last offseason to stay in Pittsburgh for another year. If he did eventually join KC, what kind of player would the Chiefs acquire?

It’s hard to say considering how the Steelers have used JuJu over the past two years in Pittsburgh. When Smith-Schuster burst onto the scene, he was a player who absolutely shredded one-on-one clashes and wreaked havoc from the slot machine. In 2020 and 2021, he was nothing more than a glorified possession catcher. You’ve never seen Smith-Schuster trying to stretch the field, or even on a deep cross road. Everything was below and up to the sticks. That’s not what Smith-Schuster fans have grown to love, and one wonders if that’s exactly what the Steelers wanted him to be in their offense, or if he was better than Smith- Schuster could for some reason.

5) How is it going? Score prediction?

It’s a game that can go well or really badly. I’m making this prediction based on the fact that key Chiefs players aren’t available in week 16. With their roster weakened, I think that leaves the door open for the Steelers to do the unthinkable. It won’t be pretty, but key points of defense and another second-half comeback will be capped with a winning kick from Chris Boswell, the same place his leg has single-handedly beaten the Chiefs in years. of the AFC divisional round there is.

Don’t forget to check out the answers I gave to their questions by clicking here.

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