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Kansas City Chiefs
Divisional Playoff Pick
By Jason Green
The Steelers totally dominated the Dolphins in the AFC Wild Card game and now head to Kansas City where they are only a slight underdog. Le'Veon Bell set the Pittsburgh record for rushing yards in a playoff game and the defense was great forcing three turnovers. While Ben Roethlisberger did not have a big game his main target of Antonio Brown did with over half of Big Ben's passing yards and the D held Miami to only 12 points.
The Chiefs won the AFC West and the 2nd seed in the AFC, so they should be rested after the bye last week. While they are unspectacular KC simply gets it down and while the stats don't show how good their D is, in terms of ranking for pass and run D, they rank 7th in the league in opponents' ppg.
The Steelers crushed the Chiefs at home earlier this season beating them 43-14.
The Chiefs have covered the spread in their last 4 home games facing the Steelers.
In their last game the Steelers beat the Miami Dolphins 30-12 where they easily covered as an 11-point home favorite.
In their regular season finale the Chiefs beat the San Diego Chargers on the road 37-27 where they covered the spread as a 5.5-point favorite.
Big Ben passed for 197 yards in the win over the Dolphins with 2 TD and 2 INT and Brown had 124 receiving yards. Bell had 167 rushing yards in the game with 2 TD and this trio will be tough to defend to say the least. Justin Houston and the KC pass rush must get to Big Ben and their D-line has to close the holes for Bell to find. As stated before the KC defense is solid yet they only rank 18th against the pass and 26th against the run.
In the earlier season match up between these 2 teams Big Ben passed for 300 yards and 5 TD, Bell rushed for 144 yards, and the Pittsburgh D forced 2 turnovers.
Alex Smith leads the Chiefs and while he does not have a great WR corps they have been getting it done and TE Travis Kelce (1,125 yards 4 TD) has emerged as a star. Spencer Ware has a rib injury, but he will go in this game. These guys will be facing a solid Pittsburgh defense that shut down the Dolphins last week and overall ranks 16th against the pass and 13th against the run.
Pittsburgh is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 road games, 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall, and the posted total has gone Under in 15 of their last 21 games.
Kansas City is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall, 3-8 ATS in their last 11 home games, and in their last 9 games after a win the posted total has gone Under 7 times.
Our Pick - There's been a lot of talk this week about NFL Network host Kyle Brandt calling the Chiefs home field advantage a myth. He points out that for years, Arrowhead has been considered a tough place to play yet the Chiefs have lost their last 4 playoff games there.
Ok, we'll give him that. The Chiefs have come up short in home playoff games. But that doesn't change the fact that KC has been a tough place to play over the years and it also doesn't change the fact that the Chiefs have been considerably better at home than on the road this year.
That's especially true for their defense which gave up an average of 22.5 points per game on the road this year while giving up just 15.7 at home. Their yards per point number for defense at home is a dominating 24.3, best of all home teams playing this weekend. They also have 15 forced fumbles at home to just 4 on the road.
Fact is, KC is a tough place to play over the years and those Chiefs teams that lost in the playoffs had nowhere near the numbers this squad does.
Our model also likes the Chiefs predicting a 5 point Chiefs win using data from the entire season and a 7 point Chiefs win using data from only the 2nd half of the year.
Throw in a little revenge for a humiliating 43-14 beatdown in Pittsburgh back in October and we like our chances for the Chiefs to come out on top this week at home. We can still get -1, which we'll gladly lay. Chiefs -1
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