If you want to watch the simulation without spoilers, click to start the above video — or if you can’t see it, click here.
Here’s what happened in our simulation:
It is officially Super Wild Card Weekend in the NFL as the No. 2-seeded Kansas City Chiefs host the No. 7-seeded Pittsburgh Steelers as it is a rematch of Week 16. Of course, we simulated the matchup first in the EA Universe.
The last time the Chiefs matched up with the Steelers in the EA Universe, the Steelers won 31-26, as tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill were unavailable — but Hill and Kelce were full strength in this one.
The Patrick Mahomes-Kelce show was electric. It didn’t kick off until under a minute to go in the second quarter, when Mahomes connected with Kelce on a 76-yard score. The Chiefs used Kelce as the safe third-down option to keep drives alive. The connection between the two forced the Steelers to double cover Kelce, opening up room for wide receivers Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman to produce big-chunk plays to move down the field.
The Steelers’ run defense played excellent, holding running back Darrel Williams to 16 yards on 12 carries. Williams managed to find the end zone on one carry. The Steelers were able to dominate, though they could not get that significant turnover to help sway momentum, as every time the Chiefs were on a drive, they would score points. This would change in the fourth quarter, when the Steelers forced a Williams fumble, and Pittsburgh made it a one-possession game by scoring points off the turnover.
The reliability of kicker Harrison Butker played a massive role. Butker scored the first 3 points of the game on a 55-yarder, even as the wind was blowing from right to left. Butker would only kick one more field goal — but he continued to be one of the most reliable kickers in the sport.
Final score: Chiefs 35, Steelers 28
Patrick Mahomes 34-40, 409 yards, 2 TD, 5 att, 25 yards, 1 TD
Ben Roethlisberger 36-46, 361 yards 2 TD
Darrel Williams 12 att, 16 yards, 1 TD, 1 FUM
Najee Harris 14 att, 45 yards, 2 TD
Travis Kelce 15 rec, 184 yards, 1 TD
Pat Freiermuth 10 rec, 100 yards
Chase Claypool 8 rec, 104 yards
Mecole Hard 6 rec, 61 yards
Demarcus Robinson 6 rec, 91 yards, 1 TD
Nick Bolton 15 total (9 solo)
Anthony Hitchens 13 total (6 solo) 2 TFL
Tyrann Mathieu 8 total (3 solo)