First Look: Chiefs (2-2) @ Steelers (1-3)

I don't know about you, but Kansas City's 23-20 win over Arizona on Sunday almost gave me a heart attack. It doesn't get any easier this week, as the Chiefs head to Heinz Field in Pittsburgh to take on the defending Super Bowl Champion Steelers. Although Pittsburgh is a surprising 1-3, Kansas City can't afford to take them lightly on the road.

Series History:

Kansas City is 9-16 all time against Pittsburgh, including playoffs. The last eight meetings between the two teams have come at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won the last game, 41-20 in 2003. The last victory in Pittsburgh for the Chiefs was a 24-19 decision in 1986 that got KC into the playoffs for the first time in 15 years. The last game in Pittsburgh between the two teams was in 1989.

Statistical Breakdown:

Kansas City -

The Chiefs improved to fourth in the NFL in total defense (254.3) following their win over Arizona. After allowing 253 passing yards to rookie Matt Leinart, the Chiefs are now ranked third in the league against the pass (147.8). KC improved to 17th in the NFL against the rush (106.5) after giving up only 76 yards to the Cardinals. The Chiefs are second in yards per rush against (3.6) and second in third-down defense (21 percent). KC is fourth in the NFL in yards per play against (4.3). After giving up 20 points to Arizona, the Chiefs are allowing 13 points a game, good for sixth in the NFL.

Kansas City's offense continues to improve even without quarterback Trent Green and several other key players. The Chiefs offense moved up to 19th in the NFL (300), including 20th through the air (194.3) after Damon Huard's 288-yard effort. The ground game continues to struggle as of late, dropping down to 18th in the NFL (105.5). After scoring 64 points over the past two games, the Chiefs are now 14th in the league, averaging 20 points a game. KC is seventh in third-down conversions (40.4%) and ninth in time of possession (31:12).

Pittsburgh -

Pittsburgh's defense is not to blame for their 1-3 start. They rank 13th in total defense (306.8) and an impressive 10th against the run (88.5). They have struggled against the pass, ranking 22nd (218.3). Pittsburgh has allowed 19 points a game so far this season, good for 13th in the NFL.

The Steelers could use a breakout game from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has struggled mightily this season, tossing seven interceptions and zero touchdowns in three games. Pittsburgh is currently 25th in total offense (281.3), 24th through the air (178.8) and 22nd on the ground (102.5). They are averaging just 15.3 points per game, good for 27th in the NFL. The Steelers have some weapons in wide receivers Hines Ward, Nate Washington and rookie Santonio Holmes, as well as second-year tight end Heath Miller and running back Willie Parker. Their offensive line and quarterback play must improve.

The Facts:

• Chiefs guard Will Shields will be playing in his 213th game Sunday at Pittsburgh, the most of any player ever to wear a Chiefs uniform.

• The Steelers are 113-12-1 during the regular season under Bill Cowher when leading at the half. The Steelers are the only team in the NFL that has not allowed any first quarter points.

• Kansas City has allowed only 15 points after halftime this season.

• Pittsburgh owns a 20-1 record in the regular season at Heinz Field with a positive turnover mark.

• Pittsburgh has lost six straight games with a negative turnover mark.

• Pittsburgh hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher in 16 straight home games.

Key Injuries:

For the Chiefs, quarterback Trent Green will miss his fourth straight game with a concussion. Several other players will miss the game including running back Michael Bennett (hamstring), offensive tackle Will Svitek (knee), cornerback Benny Sapp (knee) and most likely linebacker Rich Scanlon (knee). Offensive tackle Kyle Turley (back), linebacker Keyaron Fox (shoulder) and wide receiver Dante Hall (hip) are all uncertain for this weekend's game. Running back Larry Johnson is expected to play and is probable after suffering a sprained neck against Arizona.

Pittsburgh has their fare share of injuries, too. Linebacker James Harrison will miss Sunday's game with a high ankle sprain. Wide receiver Willie Reid is doubtful with a mid-foot sprain and defensive end Brett Keisel is questionable with a rib contusion. Linebacker Joey Porter and cornerback DeShea Townsend are questionable with hamstring injuries. Fullback Dan Kreider is probable with a knee injury. Guard Kendall Simmons is also probable with a foot injury.

Weather Report:

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Sunday, October 13th, 2006

Forecast calls for rain with a 30 percent chance of precipitation. There will be a high of 52 degrees and a low of 46.

Kansas City's comeback win over the Cardinals was another step in the right direction. The 2005 Chiefs wouldn't have won that game. It was a good road win, but now they have a tougher test against the Steelers. Can the Chiefs go into Pittsburgh and pull out a win? Maybe, but KC will have to play their A game. They can't afford any turnovers, costly penalties or dropped passes. There will be no comeback against the Steelers if the Chiefs play as sloppy as they did in Arizona. With the injuries on the offensive side of the ball, Kansas City's defense must continue to play well. This is a must-win for Pittsburgh as they are 1-3 and can't afford to lose anymore ground in the AFC North.

Prediction: Steelers 20, Chiefs 17

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