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Chiefs-Steelers, what to watch for: Jamaal Charles / Spencer Ware, Tyreek Hill and more

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NFL: San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

What we’re looking for as the Kansas City Chiefs visit the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football...

Can the Chiefs secondary continue to ascend?

They face top receivers week in and week out. Last week was arguably the best performance by a secondary we’ve seen in the Dorsey / Reid era. I don’t expect a repeat vs Pittsburgh. Marcus Peters will probably get an interception because, well, the sky is blue and water is wet. The criticism of the Chiefs defense is that they struggle versus top quarterbacks. They struggled at times against Philip Rivers, did well against Brock Osweiler and dominated Ryan Fitzpatrick. This week will be an opportunity to prove the trend wrong.

The Chiefs run game

Spencer Ware has been fantastic filling in for Jamaal Charles, who will return, but may or may not carry the load this week. Last week against a tough Jets front the Chiefs o-line struggled to open running lanes and Ware’s final stat line was fairly pedestrian. It doesn’t even matter that much who is running the ball, but it’s about how the Chiefs are able to execute the run game, and grind it out when needed. This seems like an opportunity to establish the ground attack and keep the ball out of Big Ben’s hands. Head into the bye week with the run game as a strength.

Kansas City Chiefs v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Andy Reid

There is no question (or should be no question) that Reid is a very good coach overall. His teams are always competitive, and win more than they lose. With that as a given, the focus is often on the things Reid can struggle with at times: clock management and getting too cute with play calling. Pittsburgh is not a place to get cute. The Chiefs will need to be fundamentally sound but not too predictable. Against a good team, the game will be won on the margins, meaning that the small decisions and mistakes will determine the outcome. Watch the Chiefs near the end of each half to see if they can avoid mistakes and maximize their opportunities.

Tyreek Hill

We are seeing the evolution of Hill from a controversial gadget player draft pick to a guy that is noticed and on special teams feared. He’s not completely to that level yet, but we’re seeing a little more each week that gives us an idea of why the team was willing to take a risk on drafting him. He’s still making rookie mistakes like getting one foot down on a sideline catch and going backwards on a kick return. But every time he touches the ball, he gives us all reason to hold our breath waiting to see if he breaks it for a touchdown. It’s no longer a bold prediction that Hill will contribute on special teams and on offense, and that he’ll score. The only questions are how much, and how many? Tyreek is lining up in the backfield at times, and rotating with Albert Wilson at slot. Will he continue to take more snaps away from Bert?

New York Jets v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images

Can the Chiefs pass rush get home?

Pass rush has been a concern since Justin Houston’s injury and related absence began. A zero sack performance last week didn’t help matters. There WAS pressure on the quarterback. Even though they weren’t able to finish, they did affect the play, and help force turnovers. This week, we want to see Bob Sutton’s defense do both: get pressure that disrupts plays, but also get the sacks that impact the game and end drives.