Even though Ben Roethlisberger doesn't think his team has a chance to win, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes isn't going to overlook the Pittsburgh Steelers in Sunday's AFC Wild Card Game.
Speaking to reporters about the matchup, Mahomes said the Chiefs aren't taking the Steelers "lightly at all" because of the talent they have on the roster and coaching staff:
They have a lot of really good coaches over there, they have a lot of really good players and they’ve played in playoff games. They understand how to change stuff up, they understand to go back to what they’re great at. So, we’re expecting a battle. We’ll be ready to go and we’re going to try to find answers for everything. They’re going to throw all different pitches to us, and we have to be able to respond and have success as much as possible.
Roethlisberger was joking on Wednesday when he commented that the Steelers "don't have a chance" against Kansas City.
"We're probably 20-point underdogs, and we're going to the No. 1 team—I know they're not the No. 1 seed, but they're the No. 1 team that's won the AFC the last two years, arguably the best team in football," he added.
It would be easy for Mahomes and the Chiefs to fall into the trap of overlooking their opponent. The Steelers are 12.5-point underdogs, per FanDuel Sportsbook.
Frank Schwab of Yahoo Sports noted the Steelers are the biggest underdog in the history of the wild-card round by point spread.
According to Schwab, the previous record was 11 points for three different teams (2012 Minnesota Vikings, 2016 Miami Dolphins, 2020 Chicago Bears). None of the three 11-point underdogs were able to cover the spread. The closest margin of defeat was the 2020 Bears, who lost 21-9 to the New Orleans Saints.
Among the 14 playoff teams, Pittsburgh's offense ranked last during the regular season in yards per game (315.4) and points per game (20.2).
The Chiefs have had moments of inconsistency this season, but they won nine of their final 10 games to finish 12-5 overall. They have at least advanced to the AFC Championship Game in each of the previous three seasons.