'Tis the season for giving.
The Steelers haven't been in the giving mood to their opponents recently, and it's the main reason why they defeated both of their last two opponents. They didn't turn the ball over against either the Atlanta Falcons or the Cincinnati Bengals, and defeated both teams.
Winning tough road games like those weren't necessarily in the Steelers' M.O. this season. Another road game, a brutal 20-13 loss at the Jets in Week 10, may end up costing them a playoff berth. They had four turnovers in that game, and failed to take the ball away once from the Jets.
It's not just on the road, either. Two turnovers against the Saints in Week 13, along with no takeaways, led to a 35-32 loss to another sub-.500 team. Boiled down simply, the Steelers are 6-0 this season when they have a plus turnover differential. They're 3-5 when they don't. They're 3-0 when they don't turn the ball over at all, and they're 6-0 when they force two or more takeaways.
Even more simply put, the less giving they are and the more larcenous, the more they win.
May they mimic The Grinch Sunday in a win-and-in game against the Chiefs Sunday.
Pittsburgh will clinch its first playoff berth since 2011 if they defeat the Chiefs. It would also set up a division championship game in Week 17 against the Bengals - giving them the opportunity to capture their first AFC North championship since 2010.
Not coincidentally, in the time the Steelers have failed to win the division and missed the playoffs, the lack of takeaways and the presence of giveaways have largely stalled them. The Steelers were 28th in the NFL in takeaways per game in 2013 and 25th in the same stat in 2012. They're 23rd in 2014.
The Steelers have three takeaways to no giveaways in their last two games, not coincidentally, both were wins. It'd be a solid bet to say, reading any gamer after today's battle with the Chiefs, you'll read something about takeaways vs. giveaways from the winning team.
Pittsburgh can be on the right side of that as long as they keep the ball on the right side of the possession arrow.