The Steelers have been playing some version of Russian Roulette against wide receivers during the second half of the 2014 season. And they've been losing.
Falcons receiver Harry Douglas had 10 catches for 121 yards, extending the Steelers' streak of allowing a 100-yard receiver to four games. They've allowed a receiver to gain at least 80 yards in their last four games, and they've gone a painful nine consecutive games allowing a reception of at least 32 yards.
All of that paints a pretty bleak picture of the Steelers' current pass-defense. And rightfully so. The team has burned through cornerbacks about as often as they've been burned on the field. Cortez Allen has been demoted and eventually placed on injured reserve (after a week of practice in which he participated fully and was listed as probable). Ike Taylor was beaten badly in the only two games he played after returning from an eight-week absence. Antwon Blake was picked on by the Falcons, surrendering a fair chunk of Douglas's third-highest receiving yards total in his career.
If there is good news for the Steelers, it's the general lack of production coming from Kansas City's wide receivers. They have no touchdowns this season, and are led by Dwayne Bowe's 667 yards. That would only place him third on the Steelers, behind Antonio Brown's 1,498 yards and Le'Veon Bell's 765. Heath Miller (652) and Markus Wheaton (600) are right behind him.
The issue used to be the Steelers' coverage of tight ends - which happens to be the strength of Kansas City's passing offense. Travis Kelce is one of the finest route-running tight ends in the league, and Anthony Fasano helps create mismatches in the team's red-zone offense which scores touchdowns on 67.5 percent of their red-zone trips, the second-highest total in the league.
If the receivers of the Chiefs have ever liked their matchups this season, it should be heading into this game. With the playoff chances for Kansas City currently flat-lining, and the Steelers still holding strong in perhaps the most competitive AFC North title fight ever, both teams will focus extensively on ways to boost their passing offense and defense respectively. While Bowe probably isn't an obvious pick in a FanDuel one-week league, he makes an intriguing low-cost pickup.
Editor's Note: FanDuel is hosting a $450,000 fantasy football league for SBNation. It's $10 to join and first place wins $40,000. League starts Sunday 1 PM ET and ends on Monday. Here's the link.