Chiefs vs. Steelers: Preview, Bold Predictions and Fantasy Analysis for MNF
This game looks uninteresting on paper and will more than likely stay true to that form. However, news that the Chiefs still haven't paid former head coach and current Steelers' offensive coordinator Todd Haley the balance of his contract after letting him go last December will certainly add an appealing wrinkle to this matchup.
Kansas City's season is all but over, and major changes are already taking shape in advance of the upcoming offseason.
The 1-7 Chiefs still possess enough talent to show well in games at times, but the results are too sporadic. Inconsistent plays from the quarterback position, and a severe lack of leadership on and off the field have also prevailed in 2012.
The Steelers, on the other hand, are winners of three straight and are picking up steam ahead of next week's Sunday night showdown with the Baltimore Ravens.
Despite numerous injuries and age creeping in, their stability up and down the organization allows this team to perennially stay competitive. As long as Mike Tomlin is roaming the sidelines and Ben Roethlisberger is under center, the Steelers will stay near the top of the league.
Here is one bold prediction for each team, along with fantasy football "beast or bust" candidates in Monday’s matchup:
Chiefs Commit Zero Turnovers
The Chiefs have turned the ball over an eye-popping 29 times through nine games and currently sit with a minus-20 turnover ratio—last in the league by far and almost double the next worst team, the Philadelphia Eagles, at minus-11.
Chiefs' quarterback Matt Cassel has turned the ball over at least two times in every game he has appeared in this season. So it would be a safe bet to assume the trend continues on the road against a tough defense.
However, the Steelers defense has only forced eight turnovers this season, good for 31st in the entire league.
If there was a game for the Chiefs to play their first clean game all season, this is it.
Ben Roethlisberger Throws for 300 Yards and 3 Touchdowns (Fantasy Beast)
Roethlisberger senses extra motivation for Steelers' offensive coordinator Haley to have a good showing against his former team. The quarterback stands to be the direct beneficiary of that added inspiration.
Big Ben is planted firmly in the MVP discussion. A game against a Chiefs' pass defense that has given up a league-worst 106.3 passer rating and 17 touchdowns (tied for the fourth-worst total) to opposing quarterbacks will only help his case.
Wide receiver Antonio Brown's absence would normally have a negative impact on Roethlisberger's ability to move the football. However, the Chiefs are giving up a league-worst 8.9 yards per pass attempt, so expect Mike Wallace and Heath Miller to pick up the slack.
Who wins this game?
For those fantasy owners needing a big night from Roethlisberger to earn a victory this week, fret not. This matchup, with the added motivation from Haley, should do the trick.
Fantasy Bust: Jamaal Charles
Since rushing for 140 yards on 31 carries in a 9-6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens back in Week 5, Chiefs' running back Jamal Charles has been held to just 83 yards on 29 carries.
Game situations have dictated what Kansas City has been able to do on offense, but not finding a way to get one of the most explosive players in the NFL the ball is unacceptable.
However, a road game against one the league's stingiest run defenses—the Steelers rank fourth in the league allowing just 88.6 yards per game—will do nothing to change this trend.
Pittsburgh should control this game from the opening kickoff. Whatever plans the Chiefs may have had in getting Charles involved early on in the offense might never gain traction.
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