In the NFL, every game is meaningful. A slip-up here or there can cost home-field advantage, a division title, or even a playoff berth. That is why tonight's game against the Chiefs is extremely important for the Steelers.
The Steelers enter the second half of their season starting with a crucial stretch of games. After the Chiefs, the Steelers play on Sunday night against Baltimore, at Cleveland, and then make a quick return trip to Baltimore. After these four games, the playoff picture might be much clearer. The Ravens, already a game up on Pittsburgh, looked dominant in a 55-20 win over the Oakland Raiders Sunday. The Cincinnati Bengals also dominated, with a 31-13 victory over the Giants at home.
But it's only the Chiefs, right? No worries, right? Well, the Steelers have a history of playing down to their opponents in recent years. Yes, the Chiefs are arguably the worst team in the NFL. Still, there are a few reasons why I think they will pose a threat. First, it's could be a dreaded "trap" game. With Baltimore looming next week, the Steelers cannot afford to look past the Chiefs. Second, rain is in the forecast and a slick field could lead to sloppy play. Sloppy play could benefit the Chiefs. Finally, there is one little arrival that could put a giant wrench in the Steelers gameplan. Baby Ben. If Little Ben decides he wants to arrive on Monday Night Football, Ben Roethlisberger will be there.
Yes, a lot has to happen for the Chiefs to hang with the Steelers. However, I think it will be closer than most people believe. The Steelers need to win this game. The rest of the season may hang in the balance.