Tonight’s Monday Night Football matchup features two teams headed in very different directions. The Chiefs have lost five straight and have failed to hold a single lead in regulation in a game this season, whereas the Steelers, winners of three straight, haven’t lost a Monday night game in two decades. The Steelers obviously have a big edge, a 12.5-point edge in fact, but is it too large of a margin for even a hot Pittsburgh team to cover?
Midseason MVP candidate Ben Roethlisberger should have ample scoring opportunities against the Chiefs, who are giving up more than 30 points per game. The Chiefs may fare better than some thing though, as they’ve had plenty of time to rest since playing last Thursday on Nov. 1. They’re pass defense hasn’t been half bad either this season, despite their record, as they are ranked 11th in the league in that category.
Surprisingly, the Chiefs also have the 3rd best rushing offense, gaining nearly 150 yards per game on the ground. So how is this team 1-7? Turnovers have been a big problem to say the least for Kansas CIty. Quarterback Matt Cassel has already tossed 11 interceptions this season and that’s to just six touchdowns. It’s pretty basic stuff, but if the Chiefs stand any sort of chance tonight against the Steelers on the road, they’ll have to be able to hang onto the ball.
They’ll also have to find some sort of success against a defense that is ranked number one in pass defense and number four in run defense. Needless to say, it will be a tall order for the Chiefs tonight.
However, despite all their disadvantages, 13 points is still a big spread for any team to cover. The Steelers aren’t really used to blowing teams out. They’ve only won two of their games by more than seven points this season.
I expect the Chiefs to play more inspired football on the big stage that is Monday Night, and although I don’t expect them to win, I do think they will cover the +13 points in front of them tonight. The Steelers are playing too well and the Chiefs too poorly for an upset to occur, but the Chiefs can certainly compete and if they don’t turn the ball over, look for this to be a very close game, perhaps decided by seven points or less.