Scouting report: How the Chiefs can beat the Steelers
By Grant Tuttle
Offensive Public Enemy #1:
WR Antonio Brown
This should come as no surprise to anyone. Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown have beat up on the Chiefs in previous meetings. The Chiefs will need every corner to be at their highest function and competent safety play. If this doesn’t happen, they will get torched by Brown. If I were the Chiefs, I would shadow him with Kendall Fuller the entire game.
Offensive Public Enemy #2:
RB James Conner
Conner is a very talented back. Even without Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers running game can be effective. Conner is a physical runner and the Chiefs will need to wrap up and get low. Additionally, Conner flashed his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and the defense will need to get better position on him in man situations than they did last week against the Chargers.
Offensive Public Enemy #3:
WR JuJu Smith-Shuster
This will be a tough task for any cornerback that is assigned to cover him. With good physicality and route running ability, Smith-Schuster makes tough catches when the ball is thrown his way. Roethlisberger will likely try to pick on Orlando Scandrick. He will definitely have his hands full defending against Smith-Schuster.
Defensive Public Enemy:
OLB/EDGE TJ Watt
While the argument could be made for several other players on the Steelers defense, I believe Kansas City’s number one focus should be to contain TJ Watt. Brother to JJ Watt, All-Pro defensive end for the Houston Texans, TJ plays with very similar passion and motor. The Chiefs tackles will need to have a great game if they hope to push the ball down field.
Watt is athletically gifted and is also a very capable run defender. If he is allowed to get to Patrick Mahomes on a consistent basis, the Chiefs will have a hard time attacking the Steelers weakness. This would be a major detriment to the success of the Chiefs.
Offensive scheming player #1:
TE Travis Kelce
Travis Kelce made little impact during week one. The Chiefs will need him to come through in week two against the Steelers. Pittsburgh’s weakest part of the defense is arguably at safety and if there is a safety lined up against Kelce, he will need to get open and take advantage of soft coverages.
Offensive scheming player #2:
RB Kareem Hunt
As aforementioned, Kareem Hunt could have a big day if the Chiefs decide to spread out the defense. With elite tackle breaking ability, Hunt should find space to run. Despite a somewhat slow start, the offensive line will need to find a way to create lanes for Hunt to run through.
Offensive scheming player #3:
QB Patrick Mahomes
This will be a huge game for Patrick Mahomes. Alex Smith was not able to get it done against the Steelers defense. This is Mahomes’ first chance to really distinguish himself as the guy in Kansas City. With some aggressive throws downfield and standing strong in the pocket, Mahomes may have another big day. The Chiefs will be leaning heavily on the 2nd year quarterback.
Defensive Player that needs to step up:
MLB Anthony Hitchens
Yes, I know. Orlando Scandrick could easily be the guy I write about here, but Anthony Hitchens is more important in this game. After signing a huge contract this offseason, Hitchens needs to prove that he can be a three down linebacker. The Chiefs will need him to not only make plays against the run, but also be better in coverage. After knocking off some rust in week one, I expect him to be a bit better in this game in that regard.
The Chiefs can go in to Pittsburgh and win a game. It has not happened in 31 years, but it can happen. I believe that it can be done for the first time in awhile. The Chiefs have played the Steelers close on numerous occasions, but that was when Alex Smith was calling the shots. Now, with a more aggressive, stronger-armed quarterback, the Chiefs have a chance of creating more offensive production. Pittsburgh does not know what to expect from the Mahomes run offense and that could be a huge advantage for KC.