A good test of defensive depth
The Carolina Panthers have an impressive array of offensive talent, and it seemed like each of their playmakers had time to shine in week 9. Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore, Curtis Samuel, and Robby Anderson stretched the Chiefs’ defense, and challenge the Chiefs’ coverages.
The Panthers’ depth on offense was a direct challenge to the Chiefs’ depth of defense. For the most part, the Chiefs secondary struggled to contain Carolina’s unit. This was especially clear late in the game, as the Panthers moved the ball a little too easily late in the fourth quarter, closing the gap on a touchdown drive and coming up just short of a game-winning field goal on their next.
I point this out because Pittsburgh, the biggest threat to K.C.’s AFC supremacy, also has impressive depth at WR/RB. Chase Claypool, JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Diontae Johnson and James Conner round out the Steelers’ playmakers. The sheer number of playmakers are going equally challenge K.C.’s depth in the secondary.
In a way, the Carolina game was an excellent taste for what Pittsburgh will bring in a potential AFC championship game. Reflecting on the Carolina game, it’s clear that the Chiefs are going to need a stronger collective outing from the secondary to contain Pittsburgh’s depth. The potential return of L’Jarius Sneed should boost the secondary in preparation for matchups with AFC elites like Pittsburgh.