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Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs Point Spread - Pick

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2 SU, 3-2 ATS) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (5-0 SU, 5-0 ATS)
Week 6 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, October 15, 2017 at 4:25PM EST
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
TV: CBS

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: PIT +4/KC -4
Over/Under Total: 45.5

The Pittsburgh Steelers come to Arrowhead on Sunday to face the Kansas City Chiefs in a battle of AFC teams that have big hopes. For Pittsburgh, they face a crisis situation as they try to make sense of a 30-9 home-loss to the Jaguars on Sunday. Granted, they are 3-2, which is hardly a cause for panic. At the same time, they look anything like leading conference contenders, which is what they were pegged with leading up to the season. And going to Arrowhead to face a good Chiefs team hardly seems like what the doctor ordered. The Chiefs moved to 5-0 on Sunday Night Football with a 42-34 road win over the Texans. They have covered every spread this season. While a lot of teams that haven't gone very far looked really good through five games, the Chiefs do indeed look to be for real. They look for another notch on their belts this week

The Steelers seem to be having an identity crisis. Again, a lot of teams would like to be 3-2. There's more than enough time for them to find their groove. But we continue to see an offense that is underachieving in a big way. Instead of the high-flying aerial attack that they seem capable of executing, we see check-downs and dump-offs, with an over-abundance of short passes. They need to air it out, take the top off the defense, and let their edge in playmaking ability surface to the top. And so far in 2017, that has been a rare sight.

A big part of the equation on Sunday for the Steelers was the poor showing of Ben Roethlisberger. He threw a ghastly five picks on Sunday, with the Jacksonville defense actually outscoring the Steelers' offense. There were some good signs on offense, but the turnovers were too much to overcome. Antonio Brown had 157 yards, while Le'Veon Bell caught ten balls. Rookie receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster continues to become a more-integral part of this offense. But WR Martavis Bryant continues to disappoint and other than Brown, the other receivers don't perform well consistently. Still, with Bell, Brown, and Big Ben, one should expect the Steelers offense to turn over at some point. But it just hasn't surfaced yet.

The Steelers defensive line has dealt with some player turnover and injuries, but they haven't been very adept at stopping the run or in applying pressure on opposing quarterbacks. It has put a lot of pressure on a back-seven that could be a lot better if they got increased support. The second level is good, led by a real gem in Ryan Shazier, who had a pick on Sunday. TJ Watt had another sack and is a rising star on this side of the ball. And the secondary hasn't been bad, with Joe Haden having worked himself into this group nicely, along with rising Artie Burns at the other corner and good safety play from guys like Mike Mitchell and Sean Davis.

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The Chiefs have looked dynamite through five weeks and anyone betting on them would also be quick to sing their praises. The defense is still a playmaking one that comes up with the right answers late in games or when needing to set up a comeback. It's the offense that seems a lot different, with infinitely more playmaking potential than in recent seasons. It was on full-display on Sunday, their third road win of the young season. Look for a vociferous response welcoming them back to Arrowhead this week. Arrowhead is raucous enough under normal conditions, but with a real contender on their hands, it's going to be tough on a Steelers team looking hard for solutions to their problems.

For a guy who hasn't typically put up big numbers, Chiefs QB Alex Smith is really surprising this season and has embraced the new approach on offense. He threw for 324 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday night. He now has 11 TD throws and no interceptions, while completing an off-the-charts 76.6% of his throws. Rookie back Kareem Hunt has been a bonanza and he had another 100-yard game last week. Charcandrick West chipped in on Sunday with two TD catches, while DeAnthony Thomas had another. Tyreek Hill was big with 68 yards receiving, with an 82-yard punt return for a TD to put the game away. There was a bit of bad news, with Travis Kelce suffering a concussion after catching 8 passes for 98 yards. And even with some pieces missing on the offensive line, they have still done a good job keeping Smith out of trouble in most games, while allowing the rookie Hunt to shine through five weeks of play.

Sunday was in many ways a typical showing for the Chiefs' defense. They're not going to amaze with their stoutness. In fact, opposing offenses often times have success against this group. They rank in the bottom third in a lot of pertinent categories. But they take a sad song and make it better with timely big plays, as well as coming up with their best play late in games when it's all on the line. A healthy Justin Houston has boosted their ability to disrupt opposing offenses considerably. They get turnovers and are a lot better than their stats would indicate. They might give up a lot of points, but it's all in the rhythm of the game and can't be evaluated as a separate entity. Granted, giving up 5 aerial touchdowns to Deshaun Watson doesn't reflect well. They have been a team that gets the job done, with 15 wins in 17 games going back to last season.

It feels strange to say, but the Chiefs have the top-scoring offense in the NFL. If the Steelers were somehow able to reverse course and find some of what made them a leading favorite to win the conference this season, they could push this KC defense to its limit. But they have the kinds of issues that don't go away overnight. I also think the Pittsburgh defense could find success and keep the Chiefs' big plays to a relative minimum. I see a close game and I'm taking the points this week.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Pittsburgh Steelers plus 4 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Pittsburgh vs. Kansas City game by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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