Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gameday: Kansas City Chiefs

Arrowhead Stadium

What to Watch For

1. Chiefs Quarterback

Tyler Palko started last week against the Patriots and looked flat out terrible. He had no zip on the ball and was wildly inaccurate when trying to throw anything more than 8 yards downfield. This past week, the Chiefs picked up Kyle Orton on the waiver wire, and if Palko struggles Orton may see time. Palko does bring some mobility to the quarterback position and can scramble out of pressure, but he really isn't a threat to make any big throws.

2. Run defense

With a backup quarterback under center, the Chiefs will lean heavily on their running game. The Steelers run defense needs to be ready for a heavy dose of Jackie Battle. The Chiefs will likely mix in some reverses and screens to get the ball in the hands of playmaker Dexter McCluster. The Steelers need to be ready for his change-of-pace speed. McCluster is dangerous in space and can be a mismatch in pass coverage for any linebacker.

3. Special Teams

The Chiefs have lived off of big special teams plays over the last few years. They have big time play makers capable of turning any punt of kickoff into points. The aforementioned Dexter McCluster will return kicks and CB Javier Arenas is their primary punt returner. Both are very capable returners and the Steelers special teams, which has been decent so far this year, will have to bring their A game.

4. Score, score, score

The Chiefs are an offensively deficient team. However, they do have individual players like McCluster, Arenas, and Dwayne Bowe that are capable of making plays to give them the edge in a close game. The Steelers need to come out strong and put points on the board early and not let off the gas pedal. Like New England did last week, the Steelers need to put the Chiefs away and not let the game hinge on a big defensive or special teams play.

5. Doug Legursky

After putting up with Chris Kemoeatu's back-breaking penalties for years, we finally get some relief. It was announced this week that Legursky would be starting at left guard, effectively benching Kemoeatu. Honestly, we're completely behind this move. Kemoeatu was a false start machine and took at least one personal foul penalty for doing something stupid after the whistle (like diving on the pile) every game. While Legursky isn't the biggest guy, he is athletic and should give the Steelers an added element with down-field blocking and pulling.

Around the NFL

AFC North

Baltimore 16, San Francisco 6 (Thursday)

The Ravens defense terrorized the 49ers offensive line.

Cleveland @ Cincinnati

I guess someone has to win...

AFC Playoff Race

Division Leaders

New England @ Philadelphia

The Dream Team against Brady and Company.

Houston @ Jacksonville

Matt Leinart takes over for the injured Matt Schaub and should have an easy task against the offensively deficient Jags.

Chicago @ Oakland

The surprising Raiders get a measuring stick game against Chicago.

Wild Card Race

Tampa Bay @ Tennessee (5-5)

The Jake Locker era begins in Tennessee.

Buffalo (5-5) @ NY Jets (5-5)

Both teams have had horrendous QB play lately. The loser will have a long way to go to get back into the playoff race.

Denver (5-5) @ San Diego (4-6)

The Tim Tebow show goes to SoCal.