The Pittsburgh Steelers have traveled to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs in what promises to be the best playoff game of the NFL’s divisional round.
The Chiefs are aiming for their first AFC Championship Game appearance since 1993, while the Steelers are vying for their fifth AFC title game berth since 2000.
As always, NESN.com’s Mike Cole, Ricky Doyle and Andre Khatchaturian are here to make their picks against the spread.
Here’s what they have for Steelers vs. Chiefs.
Pittsburgh Steelers at (-1.5) Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET
Mike: Chiefs. Ball protection is pivotal this time of the year, and now you’ve got a Pittsburgh team that’s turned the ball over 10 times in its last six games. Meanwhile, the Chiefs led the NFL in turnover differential. Another important aspect in the playoffs? Special teams. No one’s better than KC in that area, and Mike Tomlin said just this week that his team needs to do a better job in that facet of the game.
Ricky: Steelers. It’s weird to say, but Ben Roethlisberger being banged up could be a blessing in disguise for Pittsburgh’s offense, which typically finds itself in trouble when No. 7 tries to do too much. The Chiefs’ run defense has been somewhat of an issue this season, and that problem was exacerbated when linebacker Derrick Johnson went down with a season-ending injury. The Steelers need to feed Le’Veon Bell — the best running back in football — early and often, and don’t be surprised if Antonio Brown again shines by picking up big yardage after the catch on short and intermediate routes.
Andre: Chiefs. Roethlisberger enters this game having thrown eight touchdowns and eight interceptions over the last five games. I think there might be something physically wrong with him that’s hindering him from playing at his highest level. Turning the ball over that often isn’t going to fly against a Kansas City team that has won 22 of its last 27 games and boasts a league-best plus-16 turnover differential.
Thumbnail photo via Jason Bridge/USA TODAY Sports Images