The reeling Steelers visit the undefeated Chiefs in a rematch of the 18-16 playoff squeaker back in January. KC will have a boisterous crowd of fans stuffed into Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday to cheer them on. This is a team that’s historically very tough to face at home. Here are some of the red-clad foes you’ll need to know about in this matchup of AFC elite.
*No. 11 QB Alex Smith
Alex Smith isn’t flashy but he's been pretty effective and knows how to win, going 84-56-1 in his career. Smith isn’t going to beat you by going over the top, but he makes great use of Kareem Hunt, Tyreek Hill and his tight ends and throws a precise bullet in the short-to-medium game. If he has to, he can take off and run effectively on a defense. No. 11 has thrown for 1,391 yards in 2017, with 11 touchdowns and zero picks. Look for Smith to try and work the middle with Travis Kelce early and often.
Other Chiefs Quarterbacks to Note: No. 15 Patrick Mahomes II, No. 9 Tyler Bray
*No. 27 RB Kareem Hunt
For the fourth time in the past five weeks, the Steelers will face a hot rookie running back. They fared well against Dalvin Cook in Week 2, but Tarik Cohen (Week 3) and Leonard Fournette (Week 5) gashed the Steelers. Kareem Hunt might be the best of the entire bunch. The explosive Hunt has a low-pad running style that has helped him lead the league with 609 yards for 6.3 YPC and four scores. The Steelers will be hard-pressed to keep Hunt at bay.
Other Chiefs Running Backs to Note: No. 35 Charcandrick West, No. 31 Akeem Hunt, *No. 42 FB Anthony Sherman
*No. 10 WR Tyreek Hill
The second-year phenom from West Alabama is a gamebreaker. The diminutive Hill can kill a defense on a slant by taking it to the house. No. 10 has 25 receptions for 356 yards and two TDs.
Other Chiefs Wide Receivers to Note: No. 17 Chris Conley, No.12 Albert Wilson, No. 13 De'Anthony Thomas, No. 14 Demarcus Robinson
*No. 87 TE Travis Kelce
The 6'5" TE from the University of Cincinnati ranks among the best at his position and has given the Steelers’ defense fits in the past. Kelce leads KC in 2017, having caught 29 passes for 353 yards and scored twice. Kelce is a receiving threat who likes to move around to take advantage of possible mismatches. No. 87 is a chain-mover too. The Steelers, who give up a lot of short passes over the middle and a considerable amount of yards in the seam, will have to account for the Pro-Bowler.
Other Chiefs Tight Ends to Note: No. 84 Demetrius Harris, No. 88 Robert Travis
*No. 73 RT Mitchell Schwartz
With a decimated offensive line, the Chiefs needed a lift from Schwartz in pass protection on Sunday Night and the veteran provided it. According to Pro Football Focus, Schwartz didn’t allow a single pressure in 42 pass-blocking snaps. The Steelers will need to penetrate Schwartz to be successful.
Other Chiefs Offensive Linemen to Note: No 72 LT Eric Fisher, No. 75 LT Cameron Erving, No. 70 LG Brian Wintzmann, No. 79 LG Parker Ehinger, No. 61 C Mitch Morse (out), No. 77 C Jordan Devey, No. 76 Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (out), No. 73 RG Zach Fulton
*No. 95 LDE Chris Jones
Through the first quarter of the season, Jones only had six pressures. Against the Texans in Week Five, the big defensive end had six in a single game. The Chiefs have a lot of guys that the Steelers need to focus on. This will be a quality matchup going against David DeCastro.
Other Chiefs Defensive Linemen to Note: *No. 96 NT Bennie Logan, No. 97 RDE Allen Bailey, No. 94 RDE Jarvis Jenkins, No. 98 NT Roy Miller, No. 99 LDE Rakeem Nunez-Roches
*No. 50 LOLB Justin Houston
Houston is one of the most talented linebackers in the NFL. He’s tied for third in the league Among 3-4 backers with 21 pressures. Houston had six pressures and two sacks against the Texans last week. This guy is a disrupter. Marcus Gilbert is slated to return from a hamstring injury that has kept him out for three weeks. That’s an upgrade over his understudy, Chris Hubbard, but his head will need to be on a swivel with Houston lurking on the other side. Houston was sidelined this week with a calf injury, but he’s good to go on Sunday.
Other Chiefs Linebackers to Note: *No. 51 LOLB Frank Zombo, *No. 56 LILB Derrick Johnson, No. 53 RILB Ramik Wilson, *No. 55 ROLB Dee Ford, No. 57 ILB Kevin Pierre-Louis, No. 45 ILB Ukeme Eligwe, No. 92 Tanoh Kpassagnon
*No. 21 LCB Marcus Peters
The two-time Pro Bowler has emerged as one of the best cover-corners in the league. Ben Roethlisberger has noted his superior hands for a corner, while Mike Tomlin praised his coverage skills. "He's the type of calculated risk-taker that's required to be great at that position," Tomlin said before the 2016 regular-season game. The bump-and-run defender has excellent size and speed plus great ball skills, but he’s had only one pickoff so far this season.
Other Chiefs Defensive Backs to Note: No. 39 RCB Terrance Mitchell, No. 49 SS Daniel Sorensen, FS No. 38 Ron Parker, No. 23 LCB Phillip Gaines, No. 27 RCB Kenneth Acker, No. 21 SS Eric Murray, No. 25 FS Stephen Terrell (out)
No. 10 PR Tyreek Hill
He already has one punt return for a TD this year and he’s dangerous every time he touches the ball.
Other Chiefs Special Teamers to Note: No. 5 P/H Dustin Colquitt, No. 41 LS James Winchester, No. 13 De'Anthony Thomas
Head Coach: Andy Reid
Offensive Coordinator: Matt Nagy
Defensive Coordinator: Bob Sutton