January 16, 8:15 pm ET, GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Pittsburgh- 7 Seed (AFC North) 9-7-1 overall
Kansas City- 2 Seed (AFC West) 12-5 overall
Why Pittsburgh will win-
The Steelers are playing with house money and have nothing to lose. Everything fell into place the final two weeks of the season including a 47 yard game winning field goal at the end of OT by Raiders K Daniel Carlson sending them to the playoffs. The Chiefs won the first matchup on December 26 by a score of 36-10. It is possible they may get caught looking ahead to next week and take Pittsburgh lightly. Kansas City RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been ruled out with a shoulder injury while Pittsburgh RB Najee Harris on the other hand has been cleared to play. Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster also has been activated after missing 12 games with a shoulder injury.
Why Kansas City will win-
The Steelers biggest strength is their pass rush leading the NFL with 55 sacks. Kansas City however is tied for 3rd in the NFL in sacks allowed. QB Patrick Mahomes had his way the first go around completing 23 of 30 passes for 258 yards and 3 TD’s. Harris rushed for 93 yards on 19 carries in the 1st matchup, but will he be as effective dealing with an injury. No other Steeler running back has over 100 rushing on the season. The Chiefs hold the edge in special teams.
Key to the Game-
Motivation. How focused will the Chiefs be in a game everyone expects them to win against a team they already beat by 26 points? Ben Roethlisberger knows this could be his last taste of playoff football and would love to add another chapter to his illustrious career by pulling off a major upset over the defending AFC Champs.
Eye Test Analytics Predicted Score- Kansas City by 10.82 points