PITTSBURGH STEELERS (3-2) AT KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (5-0)
KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, Arrowhead Stadium. TV: CBS, Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson (field reporter).
Kareem Hunt (27)
SERIES HISTORY: 32nd regular-season meeting. Steelers lead series, 21-10. The Steelers have won four of the past five, including a 43-14 victory in Pittsburgh last season. Steelers are 10-6 all-time at Arrowhead, but the Chiefs have won three of the past four regular-season meetings there. The Steelers and Chiefs have twice met in the playoffs, with the Steelers winning the most recent meeting in January.
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Steelers beat the Chiefs twice last season and the formula was the same for both games — wear them down with the running game. Le’Veon Bell ran for 144 yards in the Steelers’ 43-14 regular-season victory at Heinz Field and 167 yards in their 18-16 playoff victory at Arrowhead Stadium. The Steelers are going to have to see more of the same from Bell if they want to beat the only remaining undefeated team in the league, because Pittsburgh’s passing game isn’t clicking.
The Steelers’ defense will have to limit the Chiefs’ running game. Rookie Kareem Hunt leads the league with 609 rushing yards. The Steelers are coming off another bad performance against the run; they gave up 231 to the Jaguars, including 181 to rookie Leonard Fournette.
The Steelers also have to deal with Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, who is third in the league in passing yards and has 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions. The Steelers’ top-rated pass defense will be tested by Smith and his diverse receivers.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
–Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt vs. Steelers run defense. Hunt leads the league with 122 rushing yards per game, and the Steelers rank 28th with 137 yards allowed per game. The Houston Texans used an effective run blitz to slow Hunt for a time last week, but the Steelers have shown a weakness against the run this season. Kansas City could not establish a run game last season in two losses against the Steelers, averaging just 74 yards per game. Hunt can be a weapon in the passing game, too, with receiver Chris Conley out for the season and tight end Travis Kelce recovering from a concussion.
–Steelers WR Antonio Brown vs. Chiefs CB Marcus Peters. Brown leads the league in receptions and receiving yards and has to win his share of one-on-one matchups with Peters because other Steelers receivers haven’t been getting open.
FRIDAY INJURY REPORT
–Questionable: G Ramon Foster (back)
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
–Out: WR Chris Conley (achilles), G Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (knee), C Mitch Morse (foot), S Steven Terrell (concussion)
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Steelers WR Martavis Bryant. So much was expected of Bryant this season after he missed last season on a suspension, but Bryant is struggling to recapture his 2014 and 2015 form. Through five games, Bryant has 15 catches for 204 yards and one touchdown. He is coming off a game in which he caught five passes for just 21 yards, and he has only one game with more than 50 yards. The Steelers need Bryant to start making the big plays that made him one of the NFL’s top game-breakers.
FAST FACTS: Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger completed 22 of 27 (81.5 pct.) for 300 yards, five TDs and no interceptions in the last regular-season meeting. He has won six of seven career meetings (including playoffs). In six regular-season meetings, he has 13 TD passes and three INTs. … Pittsburgh WR Antonio Brown caught 10 passes for 157 yards in Week 5. He leads the NFL with three 100-yard games. He has 13 career games with at least 10 catches and 100 yards, tied for sixth in NFL history. He leads the NFL with 40 catches and 545 yards. … Steelers LB Ryan Shazier had eight tackles and an interception last week. He is the only player in the NFL with 45 tackles (45) and two INTs. … Pittsburgh rookie LB T.J. Watt is one of two NFL players with at least three sacks (3) and an interception in 2017. … Chiefs QB Alex Smith is one of three in NFL history (Steve Bartkowski and Roman Gabriel) with 11 TD passes and no INTs in the first five games. He leads the NFL with 76.6 completion percentage and 125.8 rating. … Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt rushed for 107 yards in Week 5. He leads the NFL with 775 scrimmage yards — the third-highest total by a rookie in the first five games in NFL history. He joined Adrian Peterson as the only rookies in NFL history with 100 scrimmage yards in each of the first five games. Hunt leads the NFL with 609 rushing yards and is tied for second with six TDs. … Chiefs WR/PR Tyreek Hill returned a punt 82 yards for a TD last week. He has five TDs of at least 75 yards since entering the league in 2016, the most in the NFL. … Chiefs LB Justin Houston had 1.5 sacks last week. Since entering the NFL in 2011, he has 19 games with at least 1.5 sacks, tied for second.
PREDICTION: The Chiefs lead the league at 32.8 points per game and should still be able to score even without Kelce and Conley.