AFC Wild Card Game on Sunday, January 16 – Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (12-5)
Date: Sunday, January 16, 2022
Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
Venue: Arrowhead Stadium
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs Moneyline, Total and Odds
All NFL Betting Lines, Odds, and Prop Bets are available on FanDuel Sportsbook.
Moneyline: Steelers +500|Chiefs -700
Spread: Steelers +12.5 (-110)|Chiefs -12.5 (-110)
Total: 46.5 Over (-108) Under (-112)
Odds to win Super Bowl LVI: Steelers+9000|Chiefs +450
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs Predictions and Picks
- Ben Roethlisberger over 226.5 passing yards
- Diontae Johnson over 60.5 receiving yards
- Patrick Mahomes under 280.5 passing yards
- Steelers +12.5
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs News, Analysis, and Picks
Following the most unlikely of playoff berths, the Pittsburgh Steelers (+12.5) square off with the Kansas City Chiefs as the biggest underdog in NFL Wild Card history. While that number appears bloated, especially for a playoff game, it’s easy to understand the logic behind it. Pittsburgh enters their battle with the reigning AFC champs as just one of two playoff teams with a negative point differential on the season (the other being the Las Vegas Raiders). The two teams met recently in Week 16, and frankly, it wasn’t close, the Chiefs pummelling the Steelers 36-10. Oddsmakers are expecting more of the same.
Before we get to our picks, a quick note on the injury front. Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who suffered a heel ailment in pre-game warmups last week, was limited in Thursday’s practice. Hill played just 12 snaps against the Denver Broncos. Assuming he’s active, he could continue to have his play calls scaled back. Running back, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, out of action the past two weeks with a shoulder injury, was on the practice field Wednesday but did not practice Thursday. Friday’s report will be telling.
For the Steelers, running back Najee Harris has been DNP both Wednesday and Thursday. Harris injured his elbow in the first half of Pittsburgh’s game against the Baltimore Ravens but returned in the second wearing a sleeve and handled a full workload. Head coach Mike Tomlin may be just limiting the reps of his workhorse back as it’s tough to envision the rookie sitting out his club’s biggest game of the season. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster (shoulder), sidelined since Week 5, is “healthy enough to play” but not quite in football shape and likely to be inactive. Again, more clarity should be provided on the status of both players Friday.
In what could very well be his final NFL game, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will likely have to air it out if the Steelers have any hope of pulling off the improbable upset. The Chiefs’ defense improved over the second half of the season but is coming off two straight rough outings against the Broncos and Bengals. The secondary is vulnerable, and while Big Ben lacks the arm strength to push the ball downfield consistently, the run-after-the-catch ability of playmakers Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and Harris should allow the future Hall of Famer to pile up chunk yards. We like the over on Roethlisberger’s 226.5 passing yards prop.
Johnson should be the target on most throws No. 7 makes on Sunday. The 25-year-old led the Steelers with 169 targets – tied for second in the NFL. While he failed to surpass 60.5 receiving yards in any of the past four games (Kansas City held him to 51), he still managed to eclipse that total in 10 of 16 regular-season games. Volume is never a question, and the speedster has more than proven himself this season. Give us the over.
For Kansas City’s offense, this season featured a far more conservative approach, as defenses resorted to a shell coverage in an effort to limit the explosive plays KC fans have become accustomed to. The result was quarterback Patrick Mahomes topping the current 280.5 passing prop just five times in 16 games. In their Week 16 meeting, Mahomes threw for 258 yards as the game was practically over by halftime. The blowout risk is undoubtedly in play again. Then there’s the Steelers’ D, who ranked ninth against the pass, but dead last against the run. That weakness, coupled with the uncertainty surrounding Hill’s health, may result in head coach Andy Reid relying more on the running game. We’ll take under 280.5 passing yards for the former league MVP.
With Hill likely to be less than 100% and the knowledge gained from their recent outing, the game could come under the -12.5 point spread. Pittsburgh’s big-play ability on defense, led by All-Pros T. J. Watt, and Cameron Heyward, can also provide the Steelers offense with short-field opportunities. This is the classic matchup where the underdog Steelers have nothing to lose, and the pressure is seemingly all on Kansas City to deliver. While the Chiefs are certainly deserving favorites, all things considered, the -12.5 point spread looks a little generous. We’ll take Pittsburgh at +12.5.
All NFL game predictions and picks are courtesy of SportsGrid
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