Pittsburgh (9-7-1) at Kansas City (12-5)
When: Sunday, January 16th 2022
Where: Arrowhead Stadium,
Kansas City, MO
Time: 8:15 ET | TV: NBC
Opening Odds: Kansas City -13.5/48
The Pittsburgh Steelers were two seconds away from being eliminated from postseason contention, when the Las Vegas Raiders called timeout Sunday night against the Los Angeles Chargers. The Raiders made the field goal and not only sent the Chargers to the offseason, but brought Pittsburgh and Ben Roethlisberger back into the postseason. The Steelers new life starts this Sunday night at Arrowhead Stadium against the No. 2 seed Kansas City Chiefs. This is the largest point spread on the board during Wild Card Weekend, but the Steelers are just grateful for the chance. It wasn’t a pretty season, but the Steelers won three of their last four to gain entry into the playoffs. Their only loss during that stretch was an ugly 36-10 drubbing at Kansas City in Week 16.
The Chiefs early season troubles are behind them, as they have won nine of their last 10 games thanks to a big turnaround defensively. They went six straight games of allowing 17 points or less including holding four opponents under 10. However, the Chiefs have surrendered 24 or more in three of the last four games. If Kansas City wins this game as expected, they will host another game next week in the divisional round and would only go on the road at Tennessee if both reach the AFC title game. A Steelers win would send them to top-seeded Tennessee. In the Week 16 mauling, Patrick Mahomes threw three TD passes despite not having All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce. Roethlisberger was held to 159 yards passing with a TD and pick.
The reason the Steelers have a shot at another Super Bowl is not just because the Raiders decided not to tie the Chargers, but it all started earlier in the day. They also have the Jacksonville Jaguars to thank. The Jags shocked the Indianapolis Colts as 16-point underdogs, while at the same time, the Steelers were taking care of business with their rivals the Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers prevailed 16-13 in overtime, catching a major break that Ravens star QB Lamar Jackson was out injured again. Roethlisberger threw for 244 yards and a TD and hit Ray-Ray McCloud on fourth down in OT to set up the winning field goal. Rookie running back Najee Harris missed part of the first half, but did return to finish the game.
Kansas City took care of business on Saturday with a win at the Denver Broncos and had to wait until the next day to see if they could land the No. 1 seed in the AFC. It was a longshot, but the Titans ended up beating the Houston Texans to secure it. In the win over Denver, rookie linebacker Nick Bolton turned the game around with an 86-yard fumble return for a touchdown about midway through the fourth quarter. Patrick Mahomes had two TD passes, but speedy wideout Tyreek Hill was limited to just 12 snaps after injuring his heel in pre-game warmups. Top running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire also missed the game, but should be ready to go this week. Kansas City is 4-1 ATS in its past five playoff home games.
This is a lot of points to lay against a Pittsburgh team who has zero pressure on them. The Chiefs win a lot of games, but they don’t always cover them. The Steelers will be looking at the tape from Week 16’s loss at Arrowhead and make the necessary adjustments to keep it respectable.
Pick: Chiefs +12.5
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