MNF Chaser: Chiefs-Steelers
Pittsburgh's overall advantages, K.C.'s weak offense make Steelers good bet
If you're a Kansas City Chiefs fan, it's tough to find a whole lot of bright spots this season before the Chiefs' tilt on "Monday Night Football" with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn have looked awful at quarterback, the defense can't stop anyone and the team has a mind-boggling NFL-worst minus-20 turnover differential. According to Football Outsiders, the Chiefs have the worst offense by DVOA and are ranked 27th in defense. Upgrades are needed along the defensive line, in the secondary and probably at wide receiver (as Dwayne Bowe could be on the way out this offseason).
If there is a silver lining, it's that Jamaal Charles has looked good returning from an ACL injury, gaining 648 yards this season on 4.8 yards a carry. However, with the Chiefs being down so quickly in most games, Kansas City has been forced to abandon the run; in the past three games, Charles has only 29 carries for 83 yards (2.86 yards a carry). However, as Pro Football Focus notes, the Chiefs' quarterbacks have been dreadful in play-action situations, and Kansas City has attempted play-action passes on only 14.3 percent of its passes (27th in the NFL).
While the Chiefs are counting down the days to April and the NFL draft, the Steelers appear to be hitting their stride with three straight wins. Ben Roethlisberger looks more comfortable in Todd Haley's new scheme and the Steelers have gotten their rushing attack going again. As the defense continues to get healthy, Pittsburgh once again has the look of a playoff contender.
Not surprisingly, according to ESPN Insider's PickCenter, 65.1 percent of the public is backing the Steelers. Pittsburgh is 2-1 against the spread at home, covering by an average of 7.0 points. Kansas City is 1-3 ATS on the road, not covering by a whopping 9.8 points per game on average.
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