Wild Card week was pretty uneventful with a split of the 2 plays and again this week I didn’t see a lot of value, the lines looked right on the card so instead of forcing we have just 2 plays, both on Sunday. This is my favourite football weekend of the year and 3 of the 4 games should be lots of fun to watch.
Andy Reid off a bye can’t be stopped
2016 Reg Season: 53-37-3
Game 1: Pit @ KC -1
Bet% Pit 55% KC 55%
First off, while I do believe this is a spot the Chiefs come out and win< I should mention that I have future on the Steelers and this line provides a perfect hedge opportunity on the Chiefs so that is 1 reason I am on the Chiefs here but not the only one.
This game has been moved to Sunday night from the morning because of ice storms, the weather and night game should improve the KC home field advantage here. Lets start with the fact that the Steelers have just not been great on the road. They finished the year 5-3 on the road but their road schedule was not a tough one, they had wins over Cle, Cin, Buf, Ind and Wash, Washingto is the only one in that group that had a winning record. The struggles on the road really show up in the pass game. At home The Steelers had a passer rating of 108.6, 24TDs to 7 Ints and averaged 8 yards er pass att.On the road, the passer rating drops to 77.9 with just 9 pass TDs to 8 Ints and 6.7 yards per att.
The KC pass defense has been good all year, they are 4th in pass defense DVOA but they are especially good at home. The avg passer rating of Chief opponents at home is just 67.5 and they give up 5.8 yards per att at Arrowhead. With the weather conditions expected on Sunday the Chiefs defense should be able to handle the Steelers pass game.
That leaves the game in the hands of Levian Bell and there is no question this is the concern for Chiefs backers. KC finished 20th in DVOA vs the run and 23rd in yards per rush att giving up 4.4. Bell has been the reason the Steelers won 5 road games despite the pass games struggles and Chiefs will have to slow him down minus Derrick Johnson their best run defending LB.
Despite the issues with Bell I still think this is the spot the Chiefs come up big and the first reason is Andy Reid. For all his detractors, Reid is a coach that has had great success in the playoffs, and was especially good off of a bye in Philadelphia. The Andy Reid bye legend is well documented, 16-2 in the regular season off of a bye and 3-0 in playoffs. What more impressive in that playoff number is that the 3 teams he beat were Bret Favre and the Packers, Mike Vick and the Falcons and Culpepper/ Moss and the Vikings and he held those 3 high powered offenses to a combined 37 points.I think Andy will find a way this week to slow Bell down.
On offense this is not only an efficient pass game 911th in DVOA) but one that has the most fire power the Chiefs have had since Reid got their 4 years ago with 3 legit playmakers in Maclin, Kelce and Tyreke Hill. Hill will be the X factor in this game because he is the type of player that can score from anywhere on the field and in game that will have weather issues it would surprise nobody to see a score on a kick/punt return be the difference.
The Chiefs finished tied for 2nd in turnover differential this year and normally that is a number that means you have been lucky and we expect their to be regression to the mean. The Chief may be an exception to that rule.We know Alex Smith is an extremely conservative QB that does not throw a lot of interceptions and we also know that the defense is full of guys who play for turnovers like Marcus Peters and Eric Berry which helps explain why the Chefs have finished in the top 2 in turnover differential 3 of the last 4 years. In a cold weather game with rain and possibly snow, I expect the Chiefs to come out on top in the turnover battle.