The Steelers battle the Chiefs in a rematch of the 43-14 drubbing that Pittsburgh handed KC back in October. Both teams are much better than their Week 4 selves. Kansas City, this time, will have a rowdy crowd stuffing themselves into Arrowhead Stadium on their side. Although they are historically tough at home, they have lost their last four home playoff games and are 3-10 overall the past 25 years. Here are some of the red-clad foes that you will need to know for ultimate viewing on Sunday.
Andy Reid has been in the football business a long time. With 174 wins dating back to 1999 with Philadelphia, Reid stands alone in tenth place on the all-time list. This season, Reid led KC to a 12-4 record and the AFC West title. In the playoffs, Reid is 11-11 all-time and 1-2 with the Chiefs. His one Super Bowl appearance was a loss to the Patriots following the 2004 season.
Other Chiefs Coaches:
OC Brad Childress and Matt Nagy, DC Bob Sutton
QB-No. 11 Alex Smith
Alex Smith is not flashy. However, he's been pretty effective and knows how to win, going 79-56-1 in his career. Smith is not going to beat you by going over the top, but he makes great use out of his backs and 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. But he only had 134 yards on-the-ground in 2016, as opposed to 458 in 2015. No. 11 has thrown for 3,502 yards in 2016, with 15 touchdowns and eight picks. The Steelers game up a lot of short passes to Jarvis Landry last week, but they gave up the short stuff to prevent the big play. Look for Smith to try and work the middle with Travis Kelce, early and often.
Other Chiefs Quarterbacks:
No. 4 Nick Foles, No. 9 Tyler Bray
RB-No. 32 Spencer Ware
Spencer Ware has settled in at RB1 quite well for Kansas City in the wake of lingering injuries to Jamal Charles and Charcandrick West. The former Seattle draft pick has carried the ball-handling responsibilities with great success and will continue to see a majority of the Chiefs opportunities out of the backfield. The LSU alum has rushed for 921 yards, three scores and is averaging 4.3 YPC over three games and has added another 190 yards on 18 receptions this year. Ware is adept at shaking tackles and making defenders miss, but his speed is a weapon too.
Other Chiefs Running Backs:
No. 25 Jamaal Charles (IR), No. 34 Knile Davis, No. 35 Charcandrick West, No. 42 FB Anthony Sherman
WR- No. 19 Jeremy Maclin
Last season, Maclin brought back a dimension that the Chiefs had not boasted for a few years prior...a legitimate deep threat of a wideout. The problem for Maclin is that Alex Smith doesn't throw down the field very much at all and spreads the ball around a lot. Maclin, however, is still dangerous and needs to be accounted for. In 2016, Maclin hadj 44 catches for 536 yards on 76 targets and two TDs. In this passing scheme, TE Travis Kelce is the main target. However, Tyreek Hill (61 catches and 6 TDs), Chris Conley (44 catches), Albert Wilson (31 catches), Spencer Ware (33 catches) and Demetrius Harris (17 catches) see a lot of balls too.
Other Chiefs Wide Receivers:
No. 10 Tyreek Hill, No. 12 WR Albert Wilson, No. 13 De'Anthony Thomas, No. 17 WR Chris Conley
TE-No. 87 Travis Kelce
The 6'5" TE from the University of Cincinnati ranks among the best at his position and gave the Steelers defense fits last year, going for 73 yards on five catches. Kelce caught 85 passes for 1,125 yards and scored four times over in 2016. Kelce is a receiving threat that likes to move around to take advantage of possible mismatches. No. 87 is a chain-mover too, achieving 55 first downs this season.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 (first-team)
Other Chiefs Tight Ends:
No. 84 Demetrius Harris, No. 88 Ross Travis
RT-No. 71 Mitchell Schwartz
The Cleveland Browns tried to take a hard-line stance with their talented RT and ended up losing him altogether, when KC gave said-RT a five-year deal. The Browns loss has been a huge gain for KC, as Schwartz was named (second-team) All Pro and has helped solidify the line in Kansas City that PFF ranks 14th overall for 2016. The Steelers rang-up five sacks on Miami last week and Bud Dupree challenging Schwartz' side will make for good viewing.
Other Chiefs Offensive Linemen:
No. 61 C Mitch Morse, No. 68 Mike Person, No. 70 LT Brian Wintzmann, No. 72 LT Eric Fisher, No. 73 LG Zach Fulton, No. 75 RT Jah Reid, No. 76 RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
NT-No. 92 Dontari Poe
Poe, at 6'3" and 346 lbs, is a load of humanity that clogs running lanes and can still get into the opponent's backfield from time to time. Where the Memphis NT is most devastating is his knack for engulfing runners and occupying space up front to allow his teammates to flow to the ball. The two-time selection to the Pro Bowl is mobile, massive and a task to tangle with. Center Maurkice Pouncey and Le'Veon Bell will have a full day facing the man who had 1.5 sacks and 27 tackles in 2016. Poe also became the largest man in NFL history to throw a touchdown pass, as he did on Christmas night to Demetrius Harris.
Other Chiefs Defensive Linemen:
No. 94 RDE Jarvis Jenkins, No. 95 RDE Chris Jones, No. 98 LDE Kendall Reyes, No. 99 LDE Rakeem Nunez-Roches
OLB-No. 50 Justin Houston
Don't be fooled by the fact that Houston only played five games in 2016. The frenetic pass rusher still almost averaged a sack a game over that limited span, by getting to the QB and finishing him four times. Houston is back for the playoffs and is his usual disruptive force. The Georgia product may be limited on snaps on Sunday, but combine the loudness of Arrowhead with a hard-charging Houston and Big Ben's road woes could intensify.
OLB-No. 55 Dee Ford
Ford is yet another example of proof that it takes time to develop in the National Football League. In his third season with Kansas City, Ford has found his groove and has become dangerous as a pass rusher. With 38 tackles on the season and a forced fumble, Ford has made his presence known most by sacking the quarterback a total of ten times. With Justin Houston on one side and Tamba Hali rotating in, the "Munch Bunch" needs to be just as cognizant of the burst and acceleration of the third-year man from Auburn.
Other Chiefs Linebackers:
No. 51 OLB Frank Zombo, No. 53 ILB Ramik Wilson, No. 56 Derrick Johnson (IR), No. 57 ILB DJ Alexander, No. 59 ILB Justin March-Lillard, No. 62 ILB Terrance Smith, No. 91 OLB Tamba Hali
LCB-No. 22 Marcus Peters
It's a true sign of respect that teams targeted the second-year man out of Washington 64 less times than last year. The two-time Pro Bowler had six picks and 11 pass-breakups and has emerged as one of the best cover corners in the league. He was highly coveted by the Steelers in the 2015 draft, but did not fall far enough to them. Previously 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 October 2cd game. The bump-and-run defender has excellent size and speed and great ball skills. His battles with AB will be one to watch.
Other Chiefs Cornerback:
No. 20 RCB Steven Nelson, No. 23 RCB Phillip Gaines, No. 24 LCB DJ White, No. 27 RCB Kenneth Acker, No. 39 LCB Terrance Mitchell
SS-No. 29 Eric Berry
Dominant against the pass and run, the cancer survivor and five-time Pro Bowler remained strong with 77 total tackles, four interceptions, nine passes defended and two touchdowns. The three-time All-Pro (First Team) has proven himself as one of the preeminent safeties in the game and serves as the heart, soul and courage of the Kansas City Chiefs. Berry also has two pick-sixes on the season.
Other Chiefs Safeties:
No. 21 FS Eric Murray, No. 38 FS Ron Parker, No. 49 SS David Sorensen
ST-No. 10 Tyreek Hill
Hill is the most explosive return man to hit the league since Devin Hester ten seasons ago. He was the top punt returner in the league with a 15.2 average YPC and two touchdowns, including a 95-yard return. On kick returns, Hill averaged 27.4 YPC and had a touchdown. The first-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro (First Team) has 12 touchdowns on the year total. If anybody can burn you and can carry a team to the Super Bowl, it's this guy with 4.2-something speed.
Other Chiefs Special Teamers:
No. 2 K Cairo Santos, No. 5 P/H Dustin Colquitt, No. 13 PR De'Anthony Thomas, No. 41 LS James Winchester