Pittsburgh Steelers Vs. Kansas City Chiefs Odds, Picks, and Predictions (1/16/22)

Ben Roethlisberger’s career takes a surprising turn as he makes his last stand in the playoffs, and he’ll have the opportunity to put together an upset for the ages. However, I believe the Steelers are out of their depth in this game, and I’m tasked with breaking down all of the reasons why. Let’s start here – the Chiefs held a 23-0 halftime lead over the Steelers a couple of weeks ago before slowing things down in the second half and letting Pittsburgh come back enough to only lose by 26 points. Kansas City is dealing with a couple of injuries, but it hardly matters given who they are playing, and they should be able to coast to the second round. Let’s look further into the matchup to see if there are any good betting angles.

Pittsburgh Steelers Vs. Kansas City Chiefs Betting Odds

 

 

Pittsburgh Steelers Vs. Kansas City Chiefs Injury Report

Pittsburgh Steelers: RB Najee Harris (elbow) Q, LB Robert Spillane (knee) Q, CB Arthur Maulet (concussion) Q, DE Calvin Taylor (undisclosed) Q

Kansas City Chiefs: WR Tyreek Hill (heel) Q, RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (shoulder) Q, RB Darrel Williams (toe) Q
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Pittsburgh Steelers Betting Odds

Mike Tomlin deserves a boatload of credit for getting the Steelers to the playoffs again, as this may be the worst team he has worked with. It looked like their season was over after giving up 40+ points in back-to-back losses to drop to a 5-5-1 record, but they held firm and won four of their final six games to give Tomlin a 15th-straight season as head coach with a .500 record or better. The Steelers finished the regular season as the eighth-worst offense in DVOA. Ben Roethlisberger finished with a passer rating of 86.8, 24th-best in the league, and lower than such contemporaries as Davis Mills and Jared Goff. Najee Harris, the rookie first-round pick, was one of the lone bright spots as he finished with 1,200 rushing yards, the fourth-most in the NFL. However, he picked up an elbow injury on Sunday that could limit him this week – keep an eye on practice reports.

Defensively, the Steelers didn’t fare much better this season. Uncharacteristic of a Mike Tomlin team, Pittsburgh ranked as the sixth-worst run defense by DVOA and allowed the most rushing yards in the NFL this season. The Chiefs aren’t necessarily known as a run-first team, but they can certainly take advantage of the matchup. T.J. Watt is the likely Defensive Player of the Year, but he was neutralized against the Chiefs earlier in the year. He’s presumably healthier now, and he’ll face the Chiefs’ backup right tackle in Andrew Wylie as Lucas Niang hit Injured Reserve this week. Wylie has improved this season, but he was a huge part of Patrick Mahomes’s awful showing in the Super Bowl as he was constantly under duress, and Watt should get the better of the matchup. The Steelers run the Cover-2 scheme that has been successful against the Chiefs this year, but not to the same level of success as other teams they have faced.
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Kansas City Chiefs Betting Odds

Patrick Mahomes ranks fourth in passing yards (4,839) and touchdowns (37), but the efficiency metrics haven’t been as kind to him. He ranks just 10th with a passer rating of 98.5 and fifth with a QBR of 68.8. Both of those are the lowest he has been since becoming the team’s starter. There’s some truth to the fact that opponents are figuring out how to slow down this team much more than they did earlier in Mahomes’s career, and the onus will be on him to learn how to adjust this postseason. It will help that the Chiefs worked hard to repair their offensive line over the offseason, a project that has paid dividends so far. Veterans Orlando Brown and Joe Thuney have been excellent, while Trey Smith has been a fantastic find in the sixth round. Still, Creed Humphrey quickly became a leader for this team and was PFF’s highest-rated center during the regular season. That offensive line has buoyed this team despite some offensive inconsistencies this year.

Defensively, the Chiefs have improved from their early-season struggles, but they still have some issues to sort out. Kansas City still ranks just 24th in defensive DVOA. They also allowed 368.9 yards per game, the sixth-most in the league. The Chiefs’ defense thrived on takeaways this year, creating 29 turnovers this year, the fifth-most in the NFL, including a league-leading 14 fumble recoveries. The addition of veteran pass-rusher Melvin Ingram has been tremendous as he has been highly productive and has allowed Chris Jones to kick back inside where he is more comfortable. Rookie Nick Bolton has come up with huge stops while Rashad Fenton, Charvarius Ward, Juan Thornhill, and Tyrann Mathieu round out a deep secondary. The Chiefs have playmakers all over their defense, and they generated three turnovers against the Steelers earlier this year.
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Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs Picks & Prediction

The Chiefs’ offensive success will come down to third downs where they have been excellent all year. They lead the NFL with a ridiculous 52.2% third-down conversion rate, but the Steelers hold opponents to a 37.1% rate (sixth-lowest), and the Chiefs converted just 4 of 11 third-down attempts against them this year (36.3%). Tyreek Hill is dealing with a heel injury, and both Chiefs’ running backs hit the injury report this week as Lucas Niang landed on Injured Reserve. All that attrition could be very problematic for an offense that has looked slow far too often this year, especially against a much healthier T.J. Watt.

That being said, it’s nearly impossible to trust Ben Roethlisberger in this spot. He has struggled massively as of late, and while the Steelers have found ways to win games and stay in the playoff hunt, it rarely has if ever, been because of Big Ben. I won’t be shocked if the Chiefs struggle to move the ball early in this game due to their offensive injuries, but ultimately their defense will come up with big plays against Roethlisberger, and they will win the field position battle yet again. I don’t blame you one bit if you don’t want to lay the points with Kansas City, but they should have no problem winning this game.

My Predictions: Chiefs win 27-13, Chiefs cover, under 46.5 points

Best Bet: Chiefs ML parlayed with Buccaneers and Bills/Bengals (should get you back to even odds) OR 6.5-Point Teaser: Chiefs -6.5 and under 53 points

I've been writing about sports for Lineups since the beginning of 2020 and on my own website since 2018. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. With my educational background in the sports business and a strong knowledge of the inner workings of professional and collegiate sports, I hope to tell enthralling stories about the world of sports as it unfolds around me.

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