- AFC North
- 7 wins, 3 losses
After having last week off, the well-rested Steelers have one question to answer:
Is Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger going to play? He broke his right thumb in the last game they played against the Cincinnati Bengals, but he played that whole game, and we’ve seen him play through a broken nose, so this fracture shouldn’t be a big deal for him. The only difference we may see is a change in the formation. He may not take snaps from the center for the whole night, he may need a break, even with a splint on under his glove. If it gets too sore he may use a shotgun formation where the QB stands back a step or two and the center snaps him the ball from there. This would lessen the impact on his sore thumb.
Keep an eye out for receiver Mike Wallace who averages over 17 yards per catch. That’s a lot. Roethlisberger will also be looking to receiver Antonio Brown when Wallace is covered.
The defense will be tough, as safety (and my favorite) Troy Polamalu and the rest of the guys are the 3rd ranked pass defense in the NFL. Polamalu had sore ribs in the last game, but he’s listed as ‘probable’ for the game.
Seeing as this is in away game for Pittsburgh we’ll have to see if we can spy any of their fans waving their yellow “Terrible Towels”. They won’t be hard to spot.
Kansas City Chiefs
- AFC West
- 4 wins, 6 losses
We don’t get to see the Chiefs play that often in these Sunday night games.
From what I’ve read they give up big passing plays fairly often, so their defense is not strong this year. They also struggle to stop the pass rush, and they’re last in sacks in the NFL. This does not bode well for trying to stand up to the Pittsburgh offense, even with Roethlisberger’s injured thumb.
Starting Quarterback Matt Cassel is out on injured reserve for the rest of the season after having surgery on his injured hand. (What’s up with the hand injuries, boys?) Tyler Palko will start as QB and his primary target will be receiver Dwayne Bowe.
The key for Kansas City on defense is to create turnovers and disrupt whatever the Steelers try to do.
The best thing about this game is that both teams need to win, and that gives us an added element of unpredictability because the pressure is on for playoff spots. A loss for the Steelers could significantly change their playoff position, and KC wants to try to increase their chances to get into the playoffs in the first place.