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How the Steelers’ offense can exploit the Chiefs’ defense in Week 2

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The Pittsburgh Steelers need to get on track, and I go behind enemy lines to get the lowdown on the team’s Week 2 opponent — the Chiefs.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Kansas City Chiefs to come to Heinz Field in Week 2 action, and there are a lot of talking points heading into this game.

Will Patrick Mahomes and the high-flying Chiefs’ offense be able to keep up their 38-point pace this week? Is Ben Roethlisberger due for a bounce back? What are Kansas City fans predicting in this game?

To get these answers I went behind enemy lines and asked Pete Sweeney, editor of Arrowhead Pride, some questions about the upcoming game. Take a look at what the other side of the fence is thinking about the upcoming game, as well as a prediction!

For the best Steelers - Chiefs analysis, from the Kansas City side of the things, be sure to check out Arrowhead Pride.

What should Steelers fans expect when it comes to the Chiefs’ offense? Always this high powered, or will they come back to earth in Week 2?

This is a tough question. Answering very literally, yes, this offense is always high-powered. But the problem with that answer is we have only seen it so far for one real week, ever (Remember, Patrick Mahomes took over for Alex Smith this year). If last week combined with the preseason is any indication, we should expect big things from Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill all season. How Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce (27 combined yards in Week 1) fit into that mix remains to be seen.

Along those same lines, the Chiefs’ defense isn’t what it once was. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this group?

The Chiefs’ front seven, in my opinion, is a strength. The defensive line, led by Chris Jones, is stout, and the Chiefs’ GM, Brett Veach, brought Anthony Hitchens on board this offseason in order to fix the run defense. On the outside, Justin Houston and Dee Ford lead the way as the Chiefs rotate in their top draft pick in Breeland Speaks. Where they struggle is in the secondary. The Chiefs’ top cornerbacks are Kendall Fuller and Steve Nelson, but there appears what could be a big drop-off with their nickel cornerback in No. 22 Orlando Scandrick. Scandrick may be in for a tough day Sunday with the Steelers’ elite receivers.

Patrick Mahomes is exciting to watch, but has he shown any “young QB” mistakes early on?

Mahomes looked very good on Sunday, and he did have some interceptions during training camp and the preseason. Through Week 1, there were a few reads he said he could have made better, but no careless mistakes that you’ll sometimes see from young quarterbacks. I think determining this one way or another is too early to tell, and Week 2 should provide some more clarity.

The Steelers have done very well against Kansas City over the years. How to Chiefs fans view the Steelers? A non-divisional rival?

I don’t know if I’d call it a rivalry, but it’s certainly a hump Chiefs fans are aware of. I don’t think this exists so much with the players. Talking with them, especially their new quarterback and so many new defensive players, they really weren’t here in recent years for the Steelers’ dominance. The fans feel this game matters more, but for these Chiefs, I really think it’s just another Sunday.

If you were a defensive coordinator, how would you slow down this Chiefs offense?

This is a tall task. In previous years, I’d say find a way to stop Travis Kelce and then go from there. But I think, in 2018, Tyreek Hill could eclipse even Kelce for the team’s most dangerous weapon. And that fact is what makes the Chiefs so hard to deal with as a team. If opposing defenses eliminate the threat of one weapon, the Chiefs have another. Hill, Kelce, Kareem Hunt and Sammy Watkins, probably in that order. The answer probably involves getting to Patrick Mahomes as fast as you can by attacking the Chiefs’ weakest part of their offensive line at left guard.

Prediction

I took some heat last week for picking the Chargers over the Chiefs in the season opener. I was wrong, and I heard about it. But I think we learned a lot about the Chiefs in the game. For one, their offense can be very, very good this year. Not at the middle, or the end—right now. And two, the Chiefs secondary is probably as questionable as we thought it to be (the Chargers dropped two wide-open touchdowns in the first half or they might have been right there). Once again, I think the Chiefs are in for a shootout. It’s just a matter of whether or not they can manage to muster a stop or two, or simply score last. I give the Steelers the slight edge at home.

Steelers 35, Chiefs 31