The final contest of Sunday’s three-game playoff slate features the Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1, 3-5 away) facing the Kansas City Chiefs (12-5, 7-2 home) in AFC Wild Card action. Pittsburgh, the seven seed, won three of their final four games of the season to get into the postseason. Kansas City is the two seed and appearing in the playoffs for the seventh year in a row.
Sunday’s kickoff is at 8:15 p.m. EST inside Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. The Chiefs are 12.5 point favorites, and the over-under total is at 46.0 points.
What to Know – Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh returns to the playoffs for the second season in a row and ninth under head coach Mike Tomlin. The Steelers were the recipient of a lot of good fortune during the final week of the regular season to get into the postseason.
On offense, the Steelers have the 21st scoring unit, averaging 20.2 points and 315.4 yards of total offense per game. Pittsburgh’s defense ranked 20th in points allowed, surrendering 23.4 points and 361.1 yards to opposing teams.
Ben Roethlisberger, playing his final season before retirement, threw for 3,740 yards and 22 touchdowns. Rookie running back Najee Harris was impressive during his first year in the backfield, carrying the ball 307 times for 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns, and was the team’s fourth-leading receiver with 467 yards and three scores.
The Steelers were 8-9 against the spread during the season and 4-4 ATS at home. Pittsburgh is 3-7 ATS over its previous ten games against opponents from the AFC West.
What to Know – Kansas City Chiefs
After a 3-4 start to the season and some erratic play by Pro Bowl quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs and Mahomes figured things out and rolled through their final ten games with a 9-1 record. One of those victories came against this Steelers team, a 36-10 thrashing in Week 16.
Kansas City was fourth in the league scoring 28.2 points per game and producing 396.8 yards of offense. The Chiefs’ defense was also a strong unit, ranking eighth in the league, allowing 21.4 points and 368.9 yards of offense.
Mahomes saw an uptick in interceptions this season, tossing 13 of them, but countered with 37 touchdown passes and 4,839 yards through the air. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill caught 111 passes for 1,239 yards and nine touchdowns, while tight end Travis Kelce added 1,125 yards and nine trips to the endzone.
This season, Kansas City was 8-9 ATS and 4-5 ATS at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs went 6-2 ATS over their final eight games but are 1-4 ATS in their last five January contests.
The Pick is In
Sunday night is shaping up to be Roethlisberger’s final game under center, so expect the Steelers to pull out all the stops. The problem for Pittsburgh is the Chiefs are superior on both sides of the ball, and back by their home crowd will have a distinct advantage. We’d love a feel-good story of Roethlisberger’s farewell tour continuing another week, but this one could get ugly.
Betting Pick: Kansas City Chiefs -12.5