clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Steelers vs. Chiefs preview: QB situations, Travis Kelce and attacking Pittsburgh's offense

New, comments
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It's the Chiefs and Steelers on Sunday at Arrowhead and to prepare for it we spoke with Jeff over at SB Nation's Steelers blog, Behind The Steel Curtain. They do a great job over there so visit the site to see what the enemy is saying. And speaking of the enemy, here's what Jeff told me about the Steelers in our Q&A. Read my answers to his questions here.

1. Where does the QB situation stand right now? What should we expect with Landry Jones - weakness and strength?

BTSC: The QB situation is still very much in flux right now, but the odds are that Landry Jones will be the starting quarterback when the Steelers travel to Arrowhead Stadium. To be honest, if I am a Chiefs fan I'd rather face Michael Vick than Landry Jones. The offense was atrocious with Vick under center, and when Landry Jones entered the Week 6 game against the Cardinals that all changed. It helps to have weapons like Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant at your disposal, too.

As for Jones' strengths and weaknesses, his strength would be a great understanding of the offense. He has been in Todd Haley's system for three years now, and showed a great understanding of the playbook when coming off the bench. He has average arm strength, but relies on the quick hitter passes and letting his play makers make plays (see Bryant's long catch and run for a TD last week). His weaknesses are certainly a lack of mobility, and issues with decision making if the first read isn't available. If the Chiefs' pass rush can get Jones off his spot and force him to get to his second, third and fourth option ...it will be a long day for the former Oklahoma Sooner.

2. If you're the Chiefs defensive coordinator, how are you attacking the Steelers offense?

BTSC: This would change dramatically if Ben Roethlisberger were under center, but if Jones is the quarterback then you absolutely sell out to stop Le'Veon Bell and the run game. The Chiefs are a 1-5 team, so if you are going to lose at home to an AFC team, you need to make Landry Jones be the one who burns you through the air. In flashes Sunday he showed what he was capable of, but he also missed several easy throws. Pick your poison ...an All Pro running back, or a third year starter with 12 career regular season passes under his belt. Yeah, you want the latter of those two options.

3. The Chiefs offensive line hasn't been playing great. Which pass rushers will they have to stop on Sunday?

BTSC: The unique thing about the Steelers' defense this season is their pass rush hasn't come from just one or two players. Unlike in years past with the Steelers where James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley have been the dominant forces on the outside, this year it is a mixture across the entire front seven. Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, James Harrison and Bud Dupree all have over two sacks so far this season, and six other players have registered at least one sack this season.

Defensive coordinator Keith Butler has been sending pressure from a variety of angles with a variety of players. Smith will have to do his part in diagnosing the blitz, because the Steelers will blitz often. In Week 6 against the high flying Cardinals offense, the Steelers blitzed on 50-percent of Arizona's drop backs.

4. Travis Kelce looks like the Chiefs best offensive weapon with Jamaal Charles and possibly Jeremy Maclin out. How do the Steelers cover TEs?

BTSC: Not very well. They have been torched by elite tight ends this season. Rob Gronkowski, Vernon Davis and Antonio Gates had their way in the middle of the field. The Steelers are hoping to get Ryan Shazier back in the lineup this week, and his speed and athleticism will certainly help against opposing tight ends. Other than that, look for the Steelers to keep Kelce bracketed with a safety over the top. Without Maclin the Chiefs don't have a solid wide receiver who threatens to take the top off a defense. This should allow the Steelers to focus on Kelce and ensure he doesn't burn them repeatedly. Kelce will have his catches and yards, but preventing him from breaking the game open will be the key for Pittsburgh Sunday.

5. What is your prediction for the game?

BTSC: This is tough, and with Ben Roethlisberger I'd venture to say the Steelers win this easy, but I am predicting Landry Jones will start. With that said, I think the Steelers defense matches up well against Alex Smith and company and will limit points as they have all year. The question for me is can the Steelers offense move the ball on the Chiefs' defense, and although it may be ugly at times I think they can. I like the Steelers to continue their hot streak and win their fifth game Sunday. Final Score: Steelers 24, Chiefs 13.