Steelers vs Chiefs: 5 keys to victory for Pittsburgh

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No one is giving the Pittsburgh Steelers a chance against the Kansas City Chiefs this weekend. And the Steelers are just fine with that. Pittsburgh is wearing the underdog label with pride and seems very relaxed coming into this wild-card playoff game.

Can the Steelers beat the Chiefs? Absolutely. But this is what has to happen.

Run the football

(AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)

Fingers crossed the Steelers will have running back Najee Harris back for a full workload because if the Steelers cannot sustain drives by running the football, they have no shot. Harris rushed for 93 yards in the last matchup but he needs that type of production out of the game and not late when it didn’t really matter.

Stop the run

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The Chiefs are going to be without running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire and backup Darrel Williams is questionable. If Williams cannot go Derrick Gore would be the primary back. Last game, Gore rushed for 43 yards on 12 carries. Forcing the Chiefs to be one-dimensional is Pittsburgh’s best shot at getting off the field on possession downs.

Controlled pressure

(AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)

Last time around, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had far too much time in the pocket and finished with a very efficient 258 passing yards and three passing touchdowns. Steelers edge T.J. Watt was dinged up in the game and struggled. This week he’s healthy and should spearhead an improved pass rush.

Utilize those big targets

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Pittsburgh has two massive receiving targets in wide receiver Chase Claypool and tight end Pat Freiermuth being criminally underused. The Chiefs defense is going to be focusing a huge amount of time and energy to slowing down running back Najee Harris and wide receiver Diontae Johnson, which should leave Claypool and Freiermuth with excellent opportunities. The only question is whether OC Matt Canada recognizes this or if quarterback Ben Roethlisberger trusts to get them the ball.

Get a little lucky

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Let’s not kid ourselves. If the Steelers want to win on Sunday, a few lucky breaks are going to have to fall their way. Whether it is in terms of turnovers, timely penalties, special teams plays, or some combination of them all, even the Steelers at their best don’t matchup great with Kansas City without some luck.

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