After the fourth week, I’ll include a table charting the writers’ records.
For now? Let’s get to the staff predictions:
Shawn Barber, Chiefs 33-30
The Kingdom continues to ride the momentum from last week’s win. We will see our Chiefs offense evolve & begin to feature Hunt, Watkins or Kelce.
Keys to the game:
1. Chiefs should continue to focus on winning the turnover battle.
2. Even Without Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers Rushing attack is an extension of coach Mike Tomlin’s attitude and desire for toughness. Big game for “Rags to Hitchens.”
3. Steelers might be missing their best CB. This should keep the CHEETAH on the prowl.
4. Steelers Stadium is tough on the kicking game due to unpredictable crosswinds.
5. Patrick Mahomes’ mobility will play a big factor with pass rushers JJ Watt and Bud Dupree coming off the edges.
6. Chiefs’ pass protection has to be ready for zone blitz packages and double-A pressure by the Steelers’ inside linebackers.
Aaron Borgman, Chiefs 35-28
I enjoy the Steel City and I’ve been a part of a lot of matchups with Steelers over 12 years, but don’t remember ever winning a regular-season game there. Sorry everyone, it was my fault. Bridges are cool, but not as cool as fountains. Also, Primanti Bros sandwiches are terrible.
John Dixon, Steelers 31-27
Quite simply, this is going to be a tough row to hoe for the Chiefs. The Chiefs will score more than they typically have against the Steelers during the Andy Reid era, but it’s tough for me to believe that the defense is yet ready to stand up against the Steelers offensive attack — even without Le’Veon Bell. If this game were in Week 8, I’d pick the Chiefs to win in Pittsburgh for the first time since 1986. But since it isn’t, I can’t.
Matt Lane, Chiefs 31-23
Last week, I harped on how the Chargers have been unable to solve the Chiefs with Andy Reid and despite adding a couple nice pieces, overall, it was the same core of players that can never get the job done. This week, the shoe is on the other foot as the Chiefs have simply struggled vs the Steelers during that same stretch. To follow suit with last week, I would thereby be forced to take the Steelers in this one... except:
DJ/Justin Houston/EB are no longer the focal points of the defense but rather Chris Jones continuing to emerge, newly added Anthony Hitchens and with the questions surrounding Eric Berry, Kendall Fuller steps in on the back-end as lead dog. Offensively, the Chiefs are essentially a different animal than the past with the emergence of Hill, Hunt and addition of Lizard King (Sammy Watkins). Pitt will no longer be able to play the squatty Cover 2 over and over while deep shots are ignored or pulled down.
For the simple fact that the Chiefs have undergone drastic changes on both sides of the ball, history has less weight on this game for me. Based on what Pittsburgh has done in the past to KC and what they did last week to Cleveland, I don’t see them slowing down KC unless we routinely try to block TJ Watt with a FB/TE like the Browns did. While the Chiefs defense is certainly struggling in some areas, it’s a unit that still gave up 12 points through three quarters and with the way “Big Ben” played last week, it does not make me shake in fear.
Gary McKenzie, Chiefs 35-21
This is my prediction from last year. I have always been one of those people who are uncomfortably ahead of the game, so I’m hoping I was just a year early...
I’m tired of living in fear of the Steelers. They’re not immortal and they don’t have magic. Remember the “Peyton Manning is done” game? The Chiefs are pretty much going to do that to Ben Roethlisberger. This game will set into motion a course of events which will see the Chiefs enjoy 15 years of dominance in the AFC, while the Steelers will spend the next 15 years in ruin and decay. Book it.
Also, I saw Mahomes putting the window dressing on those zone throws against the Chargers — I don’t think the Steelers are ready for it.
Matt Stagner, Chiefs 45-31
It bears repeating: Mahomes changes everything. This isn’t the same team that’s struggled against the Steelers over the past few years. The Chiefs now have an explosive offense that is legitimately difficult to contain, much less stop, run by a quarterback that can and will throw to any spot from any spot under any conditions. He’s turned Sherman and DAT into weapons for crying out loud. No play, no drive, no game is over until it’s over.
In Pittsburgh, James Harrison is gone, he can’t bully the Chiefs OL anymore. Bell isn’t going to be there to confound helpless tacklers. The Steelers do have elite WRs, and they’ll rank up some yards, that’ll keep the game close-ish. But, this week’s story could be about the new Chiefs team rising to the occasion against the AFC’s “elite.” Win or lose, it won’t resemble previous games.
Kent Swanson, Chiefs 28-23
Patrick Mahomes spoiled Chiefs fans last week in his debut, exceeding expectations in a win on the road. If he is able to break the streak against the Steelers, the hype could be at all-time levels in Kansas City. The Steelers will be without Le’Veon Bell for a second straight week, and Ben Roethlisberger is coming off an abysmal performance. The Chiefs offense sustains drives to keep the defense fresh in a bounce-back game for the unit. Sammy Watkins records his first touchdown catch on a slant in the red zone.
Pete Sweeney, Steelers 35-31
I took some heat last week for picking the Chargers over the Chiefs in the season opener. I was wrong, and I deservedly heard about it. But I think we learned a lot about the Chiefs in the game. For one, their offense can be very, very good this year. Not in the middle, or the end—right now. And two, the Chiefs secondary is probably as questionable as we thought it to be (don't forget the Chargers dropped two wide-open touchdowns in the first half or they might have been right there). Once again, I think the Chiefs are in for a shootout. It’s just a matter of whether or not they can manage to muster a stop or two, or simply score last. I give the Steelers the slight edge because they are at home.
Craig Stout, Chiefs 38-31
In the last two games between these teams, Le’veon Bell has run wild on the Chiefs, but the Steelers have struggled to put big points on the board. That’ll change this week with Bell out, as the Steelers will throw early and often to their star wideouts and they’ll score. The Chiefs defense finds difficulty tackling again in this contest, and while James Conner isn’t Bell, he’s a more than capable back that will find the end zone. The Chiefs offense will struggle up front with the Steelers front seven, but we’ve now seen Pat Mahomes handle the heat on multiple occasions. He should find room in a “just okay” Steelers secondary in a shootout. A late game INT from Kendall Fuller seals the deal for the Chiefs in a close game throughout.
Joel Thorman, Chiefs 33-27
Two things have changed in the Chiefs favor. First, no Le’Veon Bell means I won’t be punching the wall every time he patiently walks up to the line of scrimmage and somehow gains 7 yards. James Conner is no Le’Veon Bell. Second, while Alex Smith had a lot of great qualities, he struggled against the Steelers. Patrick Mahomes has a different skill set and the Chiefs have an opportunity to take advantage.
Aly Trost, Chiefs 37-33
I’m feeling a bit more optimistic this week after Mahomes/Hill stole the show in Chiefs vs. Chargers. However, despite my confidence in the offense (read: Mahomes), I, along with MANY others, are still skeptical about that defense. For that reason, I think the game will be a close one because, let’s face it, there’s no way the Chiefs secondary will get as lucky as they did with the Chargers and their, uh, inability to get on the end of Philip Rivers’ touchdown passes. Le’Veon Bell being out will give the Chiefs just enough of an upper hand and Mahomes will out-QB Ben Roethlisberger no problem. Chiefs take the happy flight out of Pittsburgh with a win.
Dane Van Why, Chiefs 42-35
The Chiefs have struggled against the Steelers since coach Reid has taken over in KC but this may be the game where they finally make it over the hump. The Steelers are coming off of a LONG overtime game against the Browns which I expect to wear on them late in this one. Le’Veon Bell not being in the game helps a ton, but I still expect James Conner to have a decent showing against the Chiefs defense. In the end, Kansas City wins this high-scoring affair.
Like last week, 10 of the writers pick the Chiefs and two of the writers pick the opposition.
If the Steelers win, John Dixon will take an early lead in the AP staff prediction standings. Sorry John, but I won’t be rooting for you this time!
What’s your prediction?
Who will win Sunday in Pittsburgh?
This poll is closed