A detailed look at the key players to watch for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chiefs’ keys to victory leading up to their AFC Divisional playoff game at 7:20 p.m. Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. The game will air on NBC (Ch. 41 in Kansas City).
Coach: Mike Tomlin (103-57) is in his 10th year on the job. Tomlin, 44, took over in 2007 for Pittsburgh legend Bill Cowher and has since won a Super Bowl (2008), appeared in another (2010) and compiled the fourth-highest winning percentage among active coaches. Tomlin built his resume as a receivers and defensive backs coach at the college and pro levels before becoming Minnesota’s defensive coordinator in 2006. His offensive and defensive players play hard and physical; the “Steeler Way” remains in effect. Tomlin also has a reputation as a gambler who is among the league’s most aggressive coaches when it comes to going for two.
Offense: Todd Haley, 49, the Chiefs’ coach during 2009-11, is in his fifth year as Tomlin’s offensive coordinator, helping turn the traditionally ground-oriented Steelers into a passing machine. Pittsburgh finished the season tied for fifth in passing (262.6 yards per game) and 14th in rushing (110 yards per game). The Steelers rely on lots of “11” personnel — three receivers, one tight end — but they’ll also use a few two-tight end sets. They also throw the ball 59 percent of the time, which ranks 19th in the league. Expect to see lots of shotgun, screens, drags and deep balls, but Haley is also creative and will call end-arounds and the like. They don’t use much play-action — they’ve called it only 14 percent of the time, the least in the league according to Football Outsiders — but when they do call it, it’s pretty effective. Haley has done a really nice job during his tenure in Pittsburgh.
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Defense: Keith Butler, 60, replaced legendary blitz-master Dick LeBeau last season. In his first year, Butler helped the Steelers increase their sack total from 33 to 48 (third in the NFL) and turnovers created from 21 to 30. The Steelers prefer a 3-4 scheme and play plenty of zone. After a weak start to the 2016 season, they got back to playing a little more of a “Blitzburgh” style of defense, racking up 38 sacks this year, which ranks ninth in the league despite the fact their pressure rate of 22.1 percent only ranks 19th (FO). When it comes to pressuring the quarterback, the Steelers also like to mix in fire-zone blitzes and will send corners and safeties, as well. Also be wary on the third down; the Steelers’ third-down blitz package is very solid. They rank 16th in passing defense (242.6 per game) and 13th in rushing defense (100 yards per game). They rank in the middle of the pack in interceptions (15th) and fumbles forced (19th) and are mainly good against play-action, allowing 7.3 yards per play, which is tied for sixth in the league (FO).
Special teams: Danny Smith, 63, is in his fourth year. Washington fans had a love-hate relationship with him during his nine-year tenure but he’s respected by players and coaches. Antonio Brown is a dangerous punt returner who typically makes the first man miss. The Steelers rank in the middle of the pack on punt and kick returns. Linebackers Vince Williams and Tyler Matakevich pace the cover units. The Steelers have not surrendered a return touchdown all season, though they did give up a 72-yard kick return against Cincinnati recently and the Chiefs had a 78-yard punt-return touchdown by Tyreek Hill wiped off the board due to a penalty in Week 4. Kicker Chris Boswell has converted 21 of 25 field goals with a long of 49, though he has had one blocked. He’s only attempted two kicks over 50 yards, missing both. He also missed an extra point last week. Punter Jordan Berry has dropped 25 punts inside the 20, which ranks 15th in the league. He has had one blocked, however.
Four keys to a Chiefs victory
1. Try some screens and misdirection
The Steelers will surrender some deep passing plays, though they are solid at choking off intermediate routes. Yet many teams (Philadelphia, Dallas among them) have had some success against Pittsburgh’s big, physical defense by running the ball up the middle, peppering the middle with short passes and utilizing the screen game and throwing to the running backs, as the Steelers can be stressed by speed and have missed 121 tackles, the eighth-most in the league (FO). That means Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West could be factors in the passing game along with star tight end and leading receiver Travis Kelce. The Steelers’ linebackers — particularly James Harrison, who is still playing at a high level at age 38 — are aggressive and will often crash down on options and inside running plays, so Hill and De’Anthony Thomas could find some room to work on jet sweeps while quarterback Alex Smith could make some hay on zone-read stuff (though keeping it is a risky proposition against a hard-hitting defense like Pittsburgh’s). Also, a player like Hill — who must be accounted for due to his game-changing 4.24 speed — has the potential to attract a lot of eyes on Pittsburgh’s aggressive, downhill defense. Fakes to him could open up things for other players.
2. Commit resources to stopping Bell
Stud running back Le’Veon Bell has been superb this year. A true dual-threat as a runner and receiver, the 6-foot-1, 225-pounder has tallied the third-most yards from scrimmage (1,884) in the league despite missing three games due to a suspension and another due to rest (their meaningless Week 17 game against Cleveland). Bell is a tremendous receiver (616 yards), but where he really shines is as a runner, where his elite patience and calm empowers his big, physical line to continue blocking and wear down defenders. The Chiefs and their Derrick Johnson-less, 26th-ranked run defense are exceedingly vulnerable. If the interior linemen can’t make some plays in the backfield and the inside linebackers aren’t more gap sound — they’d better not overpursue Sunday — the Chiefs might have to let hard-hitting safety Eric Berry sniff around the box, which will potentially expose them to big plays downfield. Then again, if the Chiefs don’t support their front seven (or six, depending on Pittsburgh’s personnel), the Steelers can pound away and control the game. Simply put, defensive coordinator Bob Sutton will have to be smart about when to pick his poison, barring an improvement against the run by his young front seven. Remember, Bell lit the Chiefs up for 178 total yards in 23 touches in the Steelers’ 43-14 romp in Week 4, and it would be a major surprise if the Steelers — who went with six offensive linemen a staggering 21 times in their wild-card win over Miami last week — didn’t try to pound them into submission again.
(By the way: the Steelers have a nasty counter play reminiscent of the one the Chiefs have been calling more of in recent weeks. They’ll bludgeon you with it if you aren’t disciplined or physical enough.)
3. Eliminate big passing plays
The Steelers possess a big-play passing offense, ranking fourth in the league in passing plays over 20 yards (64) and repeatedly try to stretch defenses vertically. Most of their success in this department has to do with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and stud receiver Brown. The Chiefs already know what Roethlisberger can do; he threw for 300 yards and five touchdowns against them earlier this season. Brown, who caught four passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns in that game, also needs to be accounted for and respected at all times. He catches a lot of screens and runs a lot of short routes, but any time he’s running intermediate to deep it would be ideal if the corner has help via a safety or underneath linebacker. One of his touchdowns in Week 4 came on a one-on-one deep ball against Steven Nelson. Despite standing just 5 feet 10, Brown has the ball skills to win downfield and the speed to torch even athletically above-average corners. Brown is going to get his catches, but if the Chiefs can tackle him quickly, and take away his chunk yards on longer throws — even if they have to play a potentially run-exposing two-deep coverage to do it — it could go a long way toward helping them contain a very explosive offense.
4. Match Pittsburgh’s intensity
The last time these teams met, the Chiefs were embarrassed on national television in the first real no-show of the Andy Reid regime. Turnovers, blown defensive coverages … it was ugly. That said, the Chiefs need to come out firing on Sunday, and a few early hard hits — and big plays — would go a long way toward firing up a crowd that will be somewhat anxious, given the Chiefs’ depressing divisional-round history (2-7 all-time). Also, it’s going to be cold (approximately 37 degrees) and there’s a 90 percent chance of precipitation. The Steelers are a cold-weather team, so they’ll be ready for it — they certainly came out and took it to Miami last week, setting the tone by repeatedly rocking Dolphins skill players and strutting after every big hit. But the Chiefs have won some cold-weather games this December, too, and a fast start by the home team would go a long way toward letting the Steelers — whose defense has increasingly looked like the ones of yore in recent weeks — know that they are going to have an old-school battle on their hands.
Four Steelers to watch
**#7 QB Ben Roethlisberger (34 years old, 6-5, 240, 13th season)**
Ranked No. 21 on the NFL’s Top 100 for 2016. Showed up 15 pounds lighter this season and has had another nice season, completing 64.4 percent of his passes for 3,819 yards with 29 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Will play vs. the Chiefs on Sunday, despite aggravating a previous foot fracture in the closing moments of their wild-card win over Miami. Battled-tested future Hall of Famer has two Super Bowl wins under his belt. Doesn’t get pressured a ton — the Steelers’ quarterbacks have only been pressured 17.8 percent of the time, the fifth-lowest rate in football (FO) thanks to a terrific O-line — but when he is, he possesses in-the-pocket bravery and creativity. “Big Ben” will stand in the fray and shrug off defenders while receivers break open (13 sacks avoided, which ranks 11th among quarterbacks according to FO). Has the arm strength to make all the throws and will threaten every level of the defense. Occasionally gets a little sloppy with the ball; will make errant throws and trust his arm too much. Never gives up on plays and sometimes forces the ball into spots he shouldn’t, especially on the move. Occasionally stares down receivers on short routes, allowing linebackers to jump the throw. Winner who performs in the clutch and can bring his team back from a deficit.
**#26 RB Le’Veon Bell (24 years old, 6-1, 225, fourth season)**
Ranked No. 41 on the NFL’s Top 100 for 2016. Elite back who has rushed for 1,268 yards and seven touchdowns in 261 carries, despite missing the first three games of the season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. Big, versatile back with a very unique running style; is exceedingly patient as he approaches the line of scrimmage, often hopping around and exploding through the line at the perfect time. Possesses excellent footwork and vision. Glider who makes it look easy and always falls forward. Doesn’t break many long runs; is not a burner and is more nifty than fast, but is adept at making defenders miss in space and has forced 61 missed tackles, the fifth-most in the league (FO). Can also run over you — has an effective spin move and stiff-arm. Possesses outstanding patience when running both inside and outside. Is also an outstanding receiver (75 catches, 616 yards and two touchdowns); possesses reliable hands (barring the occasional drop) and runs good routes (especially on Texas routes). Will occasionally split out wide and in the slot (which he enjoys) and can beat defensive backs and linebackers, straight up. First player in NFL history to average more than 100 yards rushing and 50 yards receiving over the course of a season. Willing, effective pass blocker. Does not have a reputation as a fumbler but has put the ball on the ground four times this year, losing one.
**#84 WR Antonio Brown (28 years old, 5-10, 181, 7th season)**
Ranked No. 4 on the NFL’s Top 100 for 2016. Has caught 106 passes for 1,284 yards and 12 touchdowns. Former sixth-round pick who has worked himself into being the league’s best receiver despite his slight build and lack of height. Lines up everywhere. Is crafty with his hands; will push off slyly to create separation. Doesn’t need to do that much though because his route-running is excellent, and so is his burst out of his cuts. Gets a healthy number of his catches on bubble and tunnel screens — as evidenced by his 12.1 yards per catch — but is particularly dangerous on back-shoulder throws and can also track the ball in the air and make contested catches (he caught the division-winning touchdown against Baltimore in Week 16). Has great hands (only three drops, according to FO) and is tough and able to make catches over the middle. Is slight physically but does a good job protecting his body; is explosive after the catch and forces some missed tackles (13, which ranks 16th in the league) but will sometimes trot out of bounds to prevent unnecessary punishment. He’s also scored on four punt returns in his career.
**#50 ILB Ryan Shazier (24 years old, 6-1, 230, 3rd season)**
Former first-round pick has recorded 87 tackles, 3 1/2 sacks, three forced fumbles and three interceptions in 13 games this season. Has had a Pro Bowl-caliber year (but was snubbed). Rocked-up, dynamic athlete with elite speed for the position (4.38 40-yard dash) who ripped it up at the 2014 combine (among top testers in the 40, vertical, broad jump and three-cone) and never has to leave the game. Sideline-to-sideline guy who is becoming adept at using his agility and athleticism to shoot gaps and make plays; is a little Derrick Johnson-ish, in that respect but is still learning to finish — he leads the league in missed tackles with 25 (FO), six more than the next-closest defender (Tampa Bay’s Kwon Alexander). Is still training his eyes and will sometimes bite on play-action. Capable pass defender with ball skills in zone who also has the ability to cover tight ends man-to-man, but like all linebackers can be outpaced by quick receivers and running backs. Flashes ability as a blitzer; can win with quickness and even has a swim move. Has been a little banged up in his career — missed 11 games in ’14, four in ’15 and four this year due to an assortment of injuries but has shown toughness by playing through some nagging injuries and is a clear difference-maker when healthy.
Projected Chiefs two-deep
KEY: Bold=Player to Watch, C=Captain, AP=2015 All-Pro, PB=2017 Pro Bowl, Q=Questionable
No., Name, Ht., Wt., Years
11 Alex Smith, 6-4, 220, 11 | 4 Nick Foles, 6-6, 243, 5
32 Spencer Ware, 5-10, 229, 3 | 35 Charcandrick West, 5-10, 205, 3
42 Anthony Sherman, 5-10, 242, 6
17 Chris Conley, 6-3, 205, 2 | 12 Albert Wilson, 5-9, 200, 3
19 Jeremy Maclin, 6-0, 198, 8 | 12 Albert Wilson, 5-9, 200, 3
10 Tyreek Hill (PB), 5-10, 185, R | 13 De’Anthony Thomas, 5-9, 176, 3
87 Travis Kelce (PB), 6-5, 260, 4 | 84 Demetrius Harris, 6-7, 230, 3
72 Eric Fisher, 6-7, 315, 4 | 71 Mitchell Schwartz, 6-5, 320, 5
73 Zach Fulton, 6-5, 316, 3 | 75 Jah Reid, 6-7, 325, 6
61 Mitch Morse, 6-6, 305, 2 | 73 Zach Fulton, 6-5, 316, 3
76 Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, 6-5, 321, 3 | 75 Jah Reid, 6-7, 325, 6
71 Mitchell Schwartz, 6-5, 320, 5 | 75 Jah Reid, 6-7, 325, 6
99 Rakeem Nunez-Roches, 6-2, 307, 2 | 98 Kendall Reyes, 6-4, 300, 5
92 Dontari Poe, 6-3, 346, 5 | 77 T.J. Barnes, 6-7, 364, 3
95 Chris Jones, 6-6, 310, R | 94 Jarvis Jenkins, 6-4, 300, 6
50 Justin Houston, 6-3, 258, 6 | 51 Frank Zombo, 6-3, 254, 7
48 Terrance Smith, 6-2, 235, R | 59 Justin March-Lillard, 6-0, 222, 2
53 Ramik Wilson, 6-2, 237, 2 | 59 Justin March-Lillard, 6-0, 222, 2
55 Dee Ford, 6-2, 252, 3 | 91 Tamba Hali, 6-3, 275, 11
22 Marcus Peters (AP, PB), 6-0, 197, 2 | 39 Terrance Mitchell, 5-11, 190, 3
38 Ron Parker, 6-0, 206, 6 | 21 Eric Murray, 5-11, 199, R
29 Eric Berry (AP, PB), 6-0, 212, 7 | 49 Daniel Sorensen, 6-2, 208, 3
39 Terrance Mitchell, 5-11, 190, 3 | 27 Kenneth Acker, 6-0, 195, 3
20 Steven Nelson, 5-11, 194, 2 | 39 Terrance Mitchell, 5-11, 190, 3
5 Cairo Santos, 5-8, 160, 3
2 Dustin Colquitt, 6-3, 210, 12
13 De’Anthony Thomas, 5-9, 176, 3
10 Tyreek Hill (PB), 5-10, 185, R
41 James Winchester, 6-3, 240, 2
Projected Steelers two-deep
KEY: Bold=Player to Watch, C=Captain, AP=2015 All-Pro, PB=2017 Pro Bowl, Q=Questionable
No., Name, Ht., Wt., Years
**7 Ben Roethlisberger (PB, C), 6-5, 240, 13** | 3 Landry Jones, 6-4, 225, 4
**26 Le’Veon Bell (PB), 6-1, 225, 4** | *34 DeAngelo Williams, 5-9, 207, 11
*45 Roosevelt Nix, 5-11, 248, 2
**84 Antonio Brown (AP, PB), 5-10, 181, 7** | *14 Sammie Coates, 6-1, 212, 2
*88 Darrius Heyward-Bey, 6-2, 210, 8 | *83 Cobi Hamilton, 6-2, 197, 1
*17 Eli Rogers, 5-10, 187, 2 | *15 DeMarcus Ayers, 5-11, 190, R
*81 Jesse James, 6-7, 261, 2 | 82 David Johnson, 6-2, 260, 8
*78 Alejandro Villanueva, 6-9, 320, 2 | *74 Chris Hubbard, 6-4, 295, 3
*73 Ramon Foster, 6-5, 328, 8 | *67 B.J. Finney, 6-4, 318, 1
*53 Maurkice Pouncey (PB), 6-4, 304, 7 | *67 B.J. Finney, 6-4, 318, 1
*66 David DeCastro (AP, PB), 6-5, 316, 5 | *67 B.J. Finney, 6-4, 318, 1
*77 Marcus Gilbert, 6-6, 330, 6 | *74 Chris Hubbard, 6-4, 295, 3
*90 Ricardo Mathews, 6-3, 300, 7 | 96 L.T. Walton, 6-5, 305, 2
*79 Javon Hargrave, 6-2, 305, R | 93 Daniel McCullers, 6-7, 352, 3
*91 Stephon Tuitt, 6-6, 303, 3 | 96 L.T. Walton, 6-5, 305, 2
*48 Bud Dupree. 6-4, 269, 2 | 55 Arthur Moats, 6-0, 247, 7
**50 Ryan Shazier, 6-1, 230, 3** | 44 Tyler Matakevich, 6-1, 235, R
*94 Lawrence Timmons, 6-1, 235, 10 | 98 Vince Williams, 6-1, 233, 4
*92 James Harrison, 6-0, 242, 14 | 95 Jarvis Jones, 6-3, 248, 4
*25 Artie Burns, 6-0, 197, R | *22 William Gay (C), 5-10, 187, 10
*23 Michael Mitchell, 6-1, 221, 8 | 21 Robert Golden (C), 5-11, 202, 5
*28 Sean Davis, 6-1, 202, R | 21 Robert Golden (C), 5-11, 202, 5
*22 William Gay (C), 5-10, 187, 10 | 24 Justin Gilbert, 6-0, 202, 3
*31 Ross Cockrell, 6-0, 191, 3 | *22 William Gay (C), 5-10, 187, 10
9 Chris Boswell, 6-2, 185, 2
4 Jordan Berry, 6-5, 195, 2
33 Fitz Toussaint, 5-9, 204, 3 | *14 Sammie Coates, 6-1, 212, 2
**84 Antonio Brown (AP, PB), 5-10, 181, 7**
60 Greg Warren, 6-3, 252, 12
Steelers player analysis
*If Landry Jones has to play at some point — and remember, Big Ben will be playing hurt — it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Chiefs bring an “A” gap blitz or two when they really need it. Jones threw three touchdowns in a Week 17 win over Cleveland but appeared to struggle some when there were rushers directly in his face. He seemed to figure it out toward the end of the game, but it’s just something to keep in mind.
*If something happens to Bell — say he gets nicked up or something — don’t expect much relief if you’re a Chiefs fan. His backup, D’Angelo Williams is very capable. He actually led the NFL in rushing after the first two games while Bell sat due to his suspension.
*Roosevelt Nix is a strong, feisty blocker who does nice work in short-yardage situations. He’s also a good special-teams player who makes plays on kickoffs.
*Speedster Darrius Heyward-Bey is listed as a starter, but he hasn’t seen the ball much this year (six catches, 114 yards, two touchdowns). Granted, he’s missed six games due to injury, but he’s still logged only the fifth-most offensive snaps (223) of Pittsburgh’s receivers.
*I really like Eli Rogers (48 catches, 594 yards, three touchdowns), an undrafted second-year pro who has worked himself into becoming a solid complementary receiver. He’s slippery, quick and adept at working the middle. He’s someone Roethlisberger is comfortable targeting.
*Cobi Hamilton (17 catches, 234 yards, two touchdowns) and Sammie Coates (21 catches, 435 yards and two touchdowns) are deep-ball threats. Roethlisberger likes to go up top to each of them and let them use their size to win. Coates drops some passes, but his yards per catch (20.7) is eye-popping. He’s the one who caught that 47-yard jump ball over Marcus Peters down the sideline in the Chiefs’ 43-14 loss in Week 4, but also keep an eye on youngster DeMarcus Ayres, who has outsnapped Coates in recent weeks and might have some juice.
*Young tight end Jesse James has been helpful as a receiver (39 catches, 339 yards, three touchdowns), though he’s had a few drops (four) and is still developing as a route runner. Big Ben will occasionally look for him over the middle.
*Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva has improved nicely as the season’s gone on; he uses his extraordinary length to corral edge rushers in pass protection. He forms a nice tandem with nasty right tackle Marcus Gilbert, a strong pass blocker.
*The Steelers have one of the league’s best center-right guard combinations in Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro. Both are Pro Bowl-caliber studs who excel in the run and passing games. Left guard Ramon Foster is also having a nice season in both phases. Pittsburgh is very strong up the middle, so the Chiefs’ young interior of Dontari Poe, Chris Jones and Rakeem Nunez-Roches will have to bring it.
*Former K-Stater B.J. Finney is currently a backup, but he’s quietly developing into a solid pro. He moves well on pulls and is physical at the point of attack; he even turned all-pro nose tackle Marcell Dareus on a touchdown run up the middle in a Week 14 win over Buffalo.
*When the Steelers go with six offensive linemen, they bring in tackle Chris Hubbard.
*Interior lineman Ricardo Mathews, who replaced injured stud Cam Heyward (three sacks vs. the Chiefs in Week 4), missed the Steelers’ wild-card game because of an injured ankle. L.T. Walton started in his place and finished with two tackles, including one for loss.
*Rookie interior lineman Javon Hargrave was a personal favorite of mine in the 2016 NFL Draft, and it’s not just because he’s a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference guy (South Carolina State). He made my all-juice team because he’s a short guy who won with quickness, and his production in college was off the charts. He’s still developing his run defense and he could use more production as a pass rusher (two sacks and three pressures) but he’s shown flashes of being a good player. Is apparently nicknamed “Screen Killer” because — you guessed it — he’s adept at sniffing out screens.
*Interior lineman Stephon Tuitt is an interior boss. Strong and quick, he’s disruptive vs. the run and pass (he has four sacks and a team-high 14 pressures).
*Outside linebacker Bud Dupree has been terrific lately. The 2015 first-round pick is a plus athlete who looks more decisive and physical than he did a year ago (his shot on Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore last week was vicious) and is making plays (4 1/2 sacks, six pressures). He has been disruptive as a pass rusher over the last month.
*Ageless wonder James Harrison (five sacks, nine pressures) looks great these days, so the Chiefs’ tackles will need to be on point this week. Harrison — who leads all active players with 9 1/2 postseason sacks — was all over the place against the Dolphins. He’s not as fast as he used to be but he continues to win with brute strength and anticipation, and he still closes pretty quickly when he smells blood.
*Inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons has missed his fair share of tackles (12) but he leads the team in tackles (114) and can still lay a massive lick on you when he’s timed it right. Timmons is also a good blitzer with strong hands — he packs a punch (he even has a swim move) and is not someone you want taking free shots at your quarterback. He’s racked up 11 quarterback hurries, the second-most on the team, and is a problem for tight ends and running backs when he’s coming upfield.
*Teams have had some success attacking rookie corner Artie Burns vertically (9.0 yards per pass), and he leads the Steelers in penalties with 12. But he’s an athletic young corner with ball production (three picks, 13 passes defensed) who is competitive; he went toe-to-toe with Dez Bryant this season and didn’t back down. Ross Cockrell also led the team in passes defensed (14) and is a bigger corner who plays with attitude.
*Nickel cornerback William Gay has a nose for the end zone. He recently set the NFL record for consecutive interceptions returned for a touchdown (five).
*Receivers beware when going across the middle on free safety Michael Mitchell (77 tackles). He’s a hard-hitting enforcer who will knock your block off (two unnecessary roughness penalties).
*Rookie strong safety Sean Davis, a former corner, is pretty good around the line of scrimmage. He misses some tackles (15) but he’s a willing hitter (69 tackles) who can do some nice things going forward.
Prediction: Chiefs 24-20
Pittsburgh is a dangerous opponent. The winners of eight straight contests, they have a battle-tested, Super-Bowl winning quarterback, one of the league’s best coaches and a rapidly-improving defense. They are, to be sure, as equipped as anybody to come into Arrowhead — and perhaps even Foxborough — and win, and maybe they’ll do just that. But the Chiefs have been building toward this season, and anything less than an AFC Championship Game appearance would be a significant disappointment. They are at home, and while they will probably need to score a nice chunk of points to win — Pittsburgh’s offense could give the Chiefs’ defense problems — Andy Reid has had two weeks to game-plan for this matchup, and he is 3-0 for his career in divisional-round games off a bye. Throw in their embarrassing Week 4 loss to the Steelers, and this proud, mentally-tough group should be champing at the bit for revenge. It won’t be easy, but the best guess here is that this team — which has found a way to get it done so many times this season — will do so once again and send the Chiefs to the AFC Championship Game for the first time since 1994 and only the second time since 1970.