Kansas City Chiefs (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS)
Week 4 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday Night Football, October 2, 2016 at 8:30PM EST
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: KC +6/PIT -6
Over/Under Total: 47.5
The Kansas City Chiefs come to Heinz Field to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football in a battle of 2-1 teams. The Chiefs had a very productive week three with a rollicking 24-3 dominant win over the visiting New York Jets on Sunday afternoon. Eight Jets turnovers sealed their fate, as the old attacking KC defense was in full-flight. They will be facing an irritated Steelers' team that shot a blank in week three in a puzzling 34-3 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Who can push it to 3-1 this week on Sunday night?
Kansas City can be really good when they're on, as evidenced by their demolition of the Jets on Sunday. The previous week saw them put forth a pretty flat performance against the Texans, so week three was a good week for the Chiefs moving forward. On Sunday, they got a big assist from their defense, with an efficient Alex Smith on-point. Still, it was the defense that was responsible for much of the heavy lifting against the Jets, with a cascade of turnovers making life easy for the whole Chiefs team.
The Chiefs' defense secured eight turnovers on Sunday, picking off beleaguered Jets' QB Ryan Fitzpatrick 6 times. The defense scored two touchdowns, enough to win on their own without the offense. Interception machine Marcus Peters had two picks, giving him four on the young season. Also picking off balls was Derrick Johnson, who returned it for a score, along with Eric Berry, Daniel Sorensen, and rookie TJ White. Add in two fumbles, one of which was returned by Demetrius Harris for a touchdown, and it's easy to see how the Jets were held to three points. Since the second half against San Diego in their season-opener, they've given up just one touchdown. On Sunday, key Jets playmakers Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, and Matt Forte were all kept in order by the robust Chiefs "D."
It's hard to judge an offense off a game like Sunday when the defense just takes over. They didn't need to be very good. But after the bad offensive showing against a team they flourished against last season on that side of the ball in Houston in week two and 10 points of scoring on Sunday, it's fair to start asking some tough questions. Aside from the second half spurt against the Chargers, they've been a wee-bit flat. Jamaal Charles still being out is troubling, as is the lack of a consistent aerial attack. Tight end Travis Kelce is a beast and had a good game on Sunday, but the WR package is lacking and that can sometimes hurt. Still, they get results and in Charles' absence, Spencer Ware has become a playmaker for this offense. And it's not like they had an offense stocked with Pro-Bowlers over the last few seasons and they still did pretty good for themselves.
Pittsburgh really stumped a lot of us on Sunday with the 34-3 loss to the Eagles. After looking the part of Super Bowl contenders for the first few weeks, they failed to play that role on Sunday. The Philadelphia defense really never let the Steelers get untracked, allowing just a field goal to a team that looked like one of the best offenses through two weeks. Pittsburgh gets a little push this week that can help them forget about the week three slide, as Le'Veon Bell returns after a three-game suspension. Bell's rushing prowess and ability to catch passes looks to give this offense an immediate boost.
On Sunday, Ben Roethlisberger was not in his vintage form, going 24-for-44 on 257 yards, no touchdowns, and a pick. They gained a mere 29 yards on the ground. And the only player with decent stats on the whole offense, Antonio Brown, gained most of those yards when the game was already decided and it didn't amount to anything, with the Steelers not able to hit the end zone. Don't expect too much more of that offensive futility moving forward. With Bell, the offense gets better and Roethlisberger's weaponry is extensive.
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The Steelers' defense wasn't at its best on Sunday. After holding their first two opponents to 16 points apiece, they allowed more than that combined against the Eagles. And Philly was able to move the ball nearly at will on the ground and through the air. Pittsburgh allowed the first 300-yard passing performance to Philly rookie QB Carson Wentz. After looking like a difference-making group through two weeks, they had no sacks, no turnovers, and basically nothing much to speak of. One should expect an irritated Pittsburgh team that will be eager to put some distance between them and that result. But Kansas City has that same kind of understated proficiency that can give teams that let it fly like Pittsburgh some real strategic issues.
This is going to be interesting. Can Roethlisberger get this offense moving or will he hit another wall against the playmaking KC defense? Can Le'Veon Bell hit the ground running after the suspension? Will the Steelers' defense rebound against the more-manageable KC offense? Can the Chiefs make it a grinding kind of game where their chances of winning or at least covering the spread increases? I see the Chiefs finding a way to keep this within reach en route to a cover.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Kansas City Chiefs plus 6 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today by signing up and betting the Kansas City vs. Pittsburgh game at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!