The NFL will get a far better idea of what the new era of the Kansas City Chiefs' franchise will look like in Week 3 of the preseason when the team travels to Heinz Field to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Despite holding the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, there is reason to be hopeful in KC. A fresh regime consisting of GM John Dorsey, head coach Andy Reid and ironically a former top draft choice in QB Alex Smith are the headliners looking to get the Chiefs back on track.
Reid serves as the play-caller in a West Coast style of offense that suits Smith's strengths of fast decision-making and short and intermediate accuracy.
It will be exciting to see Reid try to match wits with Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. Although many teams don't reveal too much in the preseason, this is the week that the playbooks will start to open up a little more with the starters seeing their most significant action.
Coincidentally, Pittsburgh OC Todd Haley was the Chiefs' head coach in their last good run, which consisted of an AFC West crown in 2010.
In order to adequately gear up for this captivating showdown, here is a look at the TV information, injury updates and more on how this should play out on the gridiron.
Where: Heinz Field in Pittsburgh
When: Saturday, Aug. 24 at 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: See Local Listings (h/t 506Sports.com)
Kansas City Chiefs Affiliates
KCTV 5 (CBS – Kansas City)
KQTV 2 (ABC – St. Joseph, Mo.)
KMIZ 17.3 (MyTV – Columbia, Mo.)
KOZL 27 (Springfield, Mo.)
KSNF 16 (NBC – Joplin, Mo.)
KTVO 3.2 (CBS – Kirksville, Mo.)
WIBW 13 (CBS – Topeka)
KSCW 33 (CW – Wichita)
KDSM 17 (FOX – Des Moines)
KQCW 19 (CW – Tulsa)
KNWA 51 (NBC – Fayetteville, Ark.)
KFXL (FOX – Lincoln, Neb.)
Pittsburgh Steelers Affiliates
KDKA 2 (CBS – Pittsburgh)
WTAJ 10 (CBS – Altoona)
WLYH 15 (CW – Harrisburg)
WYFX (FOX – Youngstown, Ohio)
WQCW 30 (CW – Charleston, W.Va.)
Live Stream: NFL.com (subscription required)
Betting Line: Steelers -3 (h/t Bovada)
Injury Updates (h/t USA Today)
Kansas City: RB Jamaal Charles (foot) Probable.
Pittsburgh: RB Le'Veon Bell (foot)—projected for early October return after Lisfranc injury.
Chiefs Player to Watch: Alex Smith, QB
The relationship between Reid and Smith seems wonderful, especially since the coach attempted to trade for him multiple times when he was coaching in Philadelphia and Smith was playing in San Francisco.
Reid already valued Smith's opinion enough to ask him what he thought about the team's recent swap of receivers—sending former first-round pick Jonathan Baldwin to the 49ers for Smith's ex-teammate, A.J. Jenkins:
Andy Reid definitely asked QB Alex Smith is opinion on WR AJ Jenkins before making trade with 49ers for Jonathan Baldwin.— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) August 20, 2013
Smith has given Jenkins his endorsement, which is precisely the type of leadership qualities and confidence that a franchise quarterback should shoulder.
A plethora of tight end targets, a star wide receiver in Dwayne Bowe and a fantastic running back in Jamaal Charles give Smith a stellar set of weapons, along with whatever he'll get out of Jenkins' recent arrival.
After completing just seven of 16 passes for 62 yards against the Niners in the last preseason contest, all eyes will be on Smith to see how he adjusts in the most serious of preseason contests.
With the complex looks and pressure LeBeau will be throwing at him, it will be up to Smith to operate efficiently and execute Reid's offense.
Steelers Player to Watch: Jarvis Jones, OLB
The team's first-round pick in this year's draft saw his stock fall a bit after an underwhelming pro day, but Pittsburgh definitely saw what he did at Georgia, which was simply making plays.
Jones has continued to do that in his very early NFL action, forcing a fumble in last week's game against the Washington Redskins.
Although Jason Worilds is also vying for the starting job, the rave reviews Jones is drawing from teammates and observers alike may cause head coach Mike Tomlin and LeBeau to reconsider:
Ike Taylor told me Jarvis Jones is "a turnover machine" on today's podcast. The Machine is in fine working order. http://t.co/7f7RcMeLlk— Dave Dameshek (@Dameshek) August 20, 2013
Jarvis Jones looking like he's going to fit right in #Beast— ESPN Monday Night (@ESPNMondayNight) August 20, 2013
Jarvis Jones just showed you what was missing from the Steelers #1 ranked defense last year...game changing turnovers— trey wingo (@wingoz) August 20, 2013
Installing Jones as a first-team player rather than a third-down pass-rushing specialist may be coming sooner rather than later. It seems he has an understanding of the foundational elements of LeBeau's exotic 3-4 alignment, only enhancing his case for more playing time as a rookie.
Should he have another strong showing and tangible production, look for Jones to make an even stronger case to start when the regular season begins.
It's a lot easier to trust the Kansas City tackle tandem of Branden Albert and No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher than it is to count on the Steelers' leaky offensive line to protect star QB Ben Roethlisberger.
Big Ben likes to extend plays with his feet. The talent in the Chiefs' front seven may not allow him to do so effectively.
Which offense has more to prove in this preseason game?
Down linemen such as Dontari Poe and Tyson Jackson along with Pro Bowl linebackers Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali should make Roethlisberger's life difficult. The lack of truly proven playmakers Roethlisberger has at his disposal outside of Antonio Brown is also a concern.
Third-round rookie Markus Wheaton has flashed nicely, but between the pressure the Chiefs can generate and a minimal running game for Roethlisberger to lean on, the away team should emerge victorious.
Even though it's difficult to gauge what will happen once the starters leave the field, Kansas City should have done just enough to that point to ultimately pull out a close win.
Score: Chiefs 27, Steelers 24