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Steelers' RB Le'Veon Bell key to success vs. the Kansas City Chiefs defense

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After being held to his third lowest single-game rushing total of the season, Le'Veon Bell looks to rebound in a game against one of the top defensive units in the NFL.

RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

With only 47 yards on 20 carries against Atlanta, Le'Veon Bell posted his second-lowest yards per carry in a game this season, with 2.4 YPC. The Atlanta Falcons defense, statistically, is the worst defense in the NFL, allowing over 400 yards per game, while their rush defense is 20th, allowing a shade under 120 yards per game.

So how did the Falcons manage to stop Bell? They loaded the box with seven or eight defenders, according to Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. This tactic, of course, leaves teams vulnerable to the passing attack. Ben Roethlisberger torched Atlanta with 27 completions on 35 attempts while passing for 360 yards. Atlanta also has the worst pass-defense in the NFL, allowing 293 yards per game.

The Kansas City Chiefs, on the other hand, are second in the league in pass-defense. While Kansas City's run-defense leaves much to be desired (28th in the league) the proficiency of their pass-defense can allow them to stack the box to stop Bell, but still protect against the pass. The Chiefs also employ the services of OLB Justin Houston, a disruptive defensive force who doesn't get the same level of press as J.J. Watt or Richard Sherman, but he certainly can put up numbers. Houston's 17 sacks lead the league and his pressure helps aid the Chiefs' outstanding pass-defense.

Despite their statistically inept rush-defense, Kansas City has only allowed only two rushing touchdowns this season, both of which were scored by Oakland RB Latavius Murray in a 24-20 Week 12 Raiders victory.

Although credited with a big passing day, the Atlanta secondary held Roethlisberger without a passing touchdown for only the second time this season, and his first since Week 2 against Baltimore. With snow showers in the forecast for Sunday's game, it becomes imperative for the Steelers to be able to run the ball. With the league's second-leading rusher on their depth chart, Pittsburgh will look to get back to their ground-and-pound ways against a formidable defensive foe.

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