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Chiefs key to Steelers game is how to defend Le’Veon Bell

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NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers
This is what we need to happen to win
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone has an opinion on the Chiefs upcoming playoff game against the Steelers. I’ve been reading all the different takes, arguing with Steeler fans and chewing through my own analysis.

The Chiefs secondary is improved enough that I don't think the Chiefs will give up multiple long scoring plays, and maybe not even one. The key will be preventing the Steelers from grinding out multiple long drives for scores in the run game.

One theme this week is that Le’Veon Bell is a very patient runner. A good defensive coordinator must figure out a way to use that against him. The only thing I can think of is that while he is waiting for an opening to appear, someone knifes through the O-line and tackles him.

Bell will get yards because he’ll get touches. They’ll keep running it as long as it puts them in second and short and third and short. So if Bell gets a steady five yards per carry, the Chiefs will likely lose. But if they penetrate the line and tackle him behind the line of scrimmage a few times, it will put the Steelers in obvious passing situations. In those situations, you hope the Chiefs get pressure and force the eventual turnover. Hope.

Both Eric Berry and Ramik Wilson have shown the ability to get these kind of run stuffs. Berry is necessary for pass defense, too. If Ramik is able to get those stops by doing his best Derrick Johnson imitation, it pushes the Steelers out of their run game, but without committing the resources needed for pass defense.

The Ultimate Key to the Game

The Chiefs linebackers - lookin’ at you, Ramik Wilson - stuff Bell early in the game and put a little doubt in the Steelers run game to get the Chiefs ball-hawking secondary involved. Saying that’s the key and actually making it happen are two different things.