All I can say right now is “Wow!” I think that I can speak for most members of “Steeler Nation” when I say that Pittsburgh’s most recent win was downright terrific. In spite of early mistakes, piss-poor officiating, and the fact that New York had the “emotion/sympathy factor” in their favor all afternoon, the Steelers “nutted up” in all three phases of the game and emerged victorious.
I am sure that the team is riding high off of their emotional win, and there is no reason that they shouldn’t be. Plus, with two weeks to go before the beginning of the “Two in Three” Ravens gauntlet, Pittsburgh has much to look forward to as the month of November continues. While the Steelers appear ready to compete for another A.F.C. North title, it is imperative that this team is not “asleep at the wheel” in winnable Conference games. You know, like the one they have against the Chiefs this upcoming Monday evening.
The Chiefs, What They Can Do, and Their Issues
Beating the 1-7 Chiefs should be a relatively easy task for a team as talented as Pittsburgh because of Kansas City’s issues in two enormous areas: Offensive Passing Game, and Pass Defense.
Although the Chiefs’ currently rank 12th in Passing Yards per game allowed (222), their ranking is somewhat skewed like Pittsburgh’s because they have actually been thrown on the least amount of any team. Kansas City ranks 31st in Yards per Pass Attempt (8.9), are tied for 30th in terms of Passing Touchdowns allowed (17). Compounding the Chiefs’ Secondary issues even more is the fact that the team has has just recently released starting Cornerback Stanford Routt.
Heck, the Chiefs’ Defense has been so inconsistent that they are even ranked 22nd in Rushing Yards per game allowed (126.0) and 30th in Points per game allowed (30.0)! So despite the fact that Antonio Brown might be out, the combination of Wallace, Sanders, Cotchery, Heath, and whichever Backs suit up should be more than enough for Big Ben and the Steelers’ efficient Offense to move the ball effectively.
As for Kansas City’s Passing Offense, it has been downright “offensive” this season due to the franchise’s Quarterback situation. Whether it has been “Lady” Quinn: “Medicine Woman” or Matt Cassel, Kansas City has appeared to be without an answer at the most important position on the field. The Chiefs rank Tied for 25th in Passing Yards per game (208), 29th in Passing Yards per attempt (6.3), have thrown the most Interceptions (14), and are tied for the fewest Touchdowns thrown (6) so far through 8 games. Worst of all however is the fact that the Chiefs have logged a -20 Turnover ratio, and have turned the ball over more times (29) than any team in professional football.
To take advantage of Kansas City’s weak passing game though, the Steelers must find a way to stop the talented Jamaal Charles and the rest of Kansas City’s 3rd Ranked Rushing Attack (149.9 Yards per game). While Charles is coming off of an ACL injury he suffered last season, he nevertheless has done a solid job through his first 8 games. So far in 2012, Charles has rushed for 634 Yards on 132 Carries and scored 2 Touchdowns on the ground. In addition to his rushing, Charles has also been a factor in the passing game and caught 22 Passes for 158 Yards and 1 Touchdown despite his Quarterbacks’ inconsistencies. Containing Charles will be the key, so all of the pressure can fall upon Quinn, Cassel, the Offensive Line, and the Defense to do something they have failed to this season: produce effectively and efficiently.
I have said this over and over again about the Steelers, but “great teams” not only win their difficult games against equal/superior foes, they also win their games against inferior foes, and win them handily. If Pittsburgh sleep-walks into this game like they did against Oakland and Tennessee, this team could very well be in for a rude awakening. Kansas City has nothing to lose and everything to gain besides the inside track for the #1 overall pick in The 2013 Draft with a victory, and could be treating the rest of their season as an “audition process” for a possible new Coaching Staff & Front Office.
Remember fans, as nice as last Sunday’s win was, the Steelers are still one game behind the Ravens, and will likely need to finish 1+ game ahead of them because of their awful A.F.C. losses to the Titans and Raiders earlier in the season. Stacking wins, especially the ones that are supposed to be cake-walks, will come in handy in a weak A.F.C., and Pittsburgh must not be asleep at the wheel come Monday night. Although this Kansas City team has yet to hold a lead in regulation all season long, they, like every other N.F.L. team cannot be taken lightly, period. An effective effort in which glaring matchups are taken advantage of is all that is needed by the Steelers to move to 6-3 and give this team a chance to take over 1st place in the A.F.C. North with a win over Baltimore., I just hope that they do not play down to their competition.