Steelers vs. Chiefs: Storylines in Divisional round

Aug 27, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) talks with head coach Andy Reid during a time out during the first half of the preseason game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 27, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) talks with head coach Andy Reid during a time out during the first half of the preseason game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 3
Next
Nov 27, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston (50) forces a fumble against Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian (13) in the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 27, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston (50) forces a fumble against Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian (13) in the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

Justin is back! Tell a friend. After missing the last two weeks of the season Houston will be back in the lineup for the divisional round. Last year during the playoffs the Chiefs were mostly without Houston in their wild card win and divisional loss. Justin Houston is the Chiefs best pass rusher and run defender.

Against him on the other side will be left tackle Alejandro Villanueva and right tackle Marcus Gilbert who rank 26th and 13th respectively by PFF. So far this season the Steelers have only given up 21 sacks (4th in NFL) at a rate of 4.1 percent of passing plays.

With Houston back in the lineup expect Dee Ford to start opposite Houston in Tamba Hali’s spot. Hali will likely play spot duty and come in during third down and in the redzone short yardage situations.

Healthy And It Feels So Good

By far the most underrated performers of the Kansas City Chiefs in the second half of the season has to be the offensive line. For the first time in what seems like a long time the Chiefs offensive line has started the same five since Week 13. Over that span the Chiefs offensive line has only given up four sacks. The Chiefs have also had four of their seven total 100+ rushing performances the season over the last five weeks.

Going into the Divisional round will mark six straight games the same guys have started on the offensive line. Against them is a defensive line that currently ranks 14th stopping the run and 19th in pass-rushing by Football Outsiders.

Bud Dupree will be starting at left outside linebacker against Mitchell Schwartz. Dupree has been on a tear late in the season after missing most of the season due to a groin injury. Over the last five weeks Dupree has notched 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Against Eric Fisher will likely be the veteran James Harrison who is still as dangerous as ever. Harrison was held without a sack in Week 4, but had 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble against the Dolphins in the Wild Card round.