The Huddle on Facebook Facebook   The Huddle on Twitter Twitter   The Huddle Mobile Mobile Welcome, GuestJOINHELP


Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

GB at DET (thu) * BUF at NYJ DEN at SD PIT at KC
MIA at DAL (thu) * CAR at IND HOU at JAC * TB at TEN
SF at BAL (thu) * CHI at OAK * MIN at ATL * WAS at SEA
* UPDATED ARI at STL * CLE at CIN * NE at PHI * NYG at NO (mon)

Prediction: PIT 27, KC 6

Players to Watch: Tyler Palko

The Steelers come off their bye at 7-3 and tied for the division lead with the Ravens. They are 3-2 in road games but the Chiefs are just 4-6 and on a three game losing streak plus a short week after getting kicked around Boston by the Patriots on Monday night. This could be a trap game with the Steelers facing the Bengals the following week but the Chiefs are not looking any better with Tyler Palko as the starting quarterback.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Homefield: Heinz Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @BAL 7-35 10 @CIN 24-17
2 SEA 24-0 11 Bye -
3 @IND 23-20 12 @KC -
4 @HOU 10-17 13 CIN -
5 TEN 38-17 14 CLE -
6 JAC 17-13 15 @SF -
7 @ARI 32-20 16 STL -
8 NE 25-17 17 @CLE -
9 BAL 20-23      
Steelers Report | Statistics | Roster
PITTSBURGH at KC Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger - - 280,2
RB Rashard Mendenhall 50,1 20 -
TE Heath Miller - 50 -
WR Antonio Brown - 70,1 -
WR Hines Ward - 20 -
WR Emmanuel Sanders - 40 -
WR Mike Wallace - 80,1 -
PK Shaun Suisham 2 FG 3 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Steelers come off their bye and at 7-3 they are in the run for a wildcard but will have to somehow pass the Ravens who swept them this season. Aside from the game in San Francisco, the Steelers will be favored in every game and have already played the meat of their schedule. All that remains is beating lesser teams, staying healthy and hoping the Ravens stumble.

QUARTERBACK: Ben Roethlisberger scored in all but one game and he has topped 300 yards five times but seven of his games featured just one passing touchdown or none. The Steeler offense rarely scores more than twice in a game and the winning has been more related to lower game scores for both teams. Big Ben can pass for a lot of yards - he just has not been able to pass for a score as often as desired.

The Chiefs have allowed two or more touchdown to every opponent who is not from the AFC West. All of them and healthier yardage in most. Expect the two scores and healthy yardage.

RUNNING BACKS: Those missing passing touchdowns do end up here to some extent. Rashard Mendenhall has scored six times but his yardage has been marginal all year. He rarely gets more than 13 carries in a game and gets minimal use as a receiver. But he has scored in four of the last six games and even doubled up in Cincinnati in the most recent game. Mendy has been less effective in road games though and has never gained more than 47 rushing yards away from Pittsburgh. Even in Arizona he only gained 32 yards on 13 carries.

The Chiefs are weak on the position but that's not going to magically make Mendenhall into a stud running back. Expect the norm - marginal yardage but a good chance of one touchdown.

WIDE RECEIVERS: All that yardage ends up here thanks to Mike Wallace who has scored six times this year and turned in four 100 yard games though only one in the last seven weeks. Wallace remains the best bet among wideouts but Antonio Brown has really turned it up for the last month with two games over 100 yards and never fewer than 67 yards. Emmanuel Sanders usually ends up around 30 or 40 yards though he has scored twice this season. The passing effort has been really upgraded with Brown improving and yet not really detracting from Wallace.

Both starting wideouts are decent plays this week and while the Chiefs held Welker on Monday night, they were killed by the run and tight ends which neither account for much in this offense. I like both scores to end up here.

TIGHT ENDS: Heath Miller is just good enough to fill a valuable role for the Steelers and yet never really qualify as a decent fantasy start. He has only two scores on the year but has been above 50 yards in three of the last four games. But his inconsistency prevents him from being considered for a start. He has a better than usual chance for a score but a lack of yardage means the risk is bigger than the upside.

Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 10 19 2 16 16 30
Preventing Fantasy Points KC 18 27 20 18 18 11

Kansas City Chiefs
Homefield: Arrowhead Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 BUF 7-41 10 DEN 10-17
2 @DET 3-48 11 @NE 3-34
3 @SD 17-20 12 PIT -
4 MIN 22-17 13 @CHI -
5 @IND 28-24 14 @NYJ -
6 Bye - 15 GB -
7 @OAK 28-0 16 OAK -
8 SD 23-20 17 @DEN -
9 MIA 3-31      
Chiefs Report | Statistics | Roster
KANSAS CITY vs PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Tyler Palko - - 170
RB Dexter McCluster 30 10 -
RB Jackie Battle 40 - -
TE Leonard Pope - 10 -
WR Jonathan Baldwin - 30 -
WR Steve Breaston - 50 -
WR Dwayne Bowe - 60 -
PK Ryan Succop 2 FG 0 XP -

Pregame Notes: So maybe Tyler Palko is not the answer. One game into the non-Cassel era and the results are even worse. The Chiefs are in the unenviable position now of finishing out the year hoping for trash time and trap games to break the boredom of being squashed every week. The running game left with Jamaal Charles. Now Cassel has the passing offense and forgot to turn it back in.

QUARTERBACK: It wasn't so much that Tyler Palko was bad in his first start - 236 yards and three interceptions. It was that it came against the worst secondary in the NFL that has gone through cornerbacks and safeties at a near historic clip. And the opponent had no game film on Palko either which now exists if you can stand to watch it. Oh look, a top five pass defense is coming to town.

RUNNING BACKS: This entire crew has only accounted for two rushing touchdowns this year and the Jackie Battle show is starting to remind us why he was a career back-up player. The only hope here is that the Steelers allow the Chiefs to run in the fourth quarter when they should be passing anyway. There are none of these backs worthy of a fantasy start this week and only Battle if the matchup is really soft.

No wait - no more of those left this year. Forget them all.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Dwayne Bowe led the receivers in the Patriots loss with seven catches for 87 yards and Steve Breaston turned in 73 yards on six catches in a total blowout against the worst secondary in the league that was actually losing more players as the game progressed. The only Chiefs players going forward that may have fantasy value are Bowe and Breaston if only because the Chiefs are going to trail in games and must throw. But this week with Palko at the helm makes it a risky choice since the Steelers sport the #3 defense against the position.

TIGHT ENDS: No fantasy value.

Gaining Fantasy Points KC 29 20 19 32 26 23
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 4 12 3 15 5 19

GB at DET (thu) BUF at NYJ DEN at SD PIT at KC
MIA at DAL (thu) CAR at IND HOU at JAC TB at TEN
SF at BAL (thu) CHI at OAK MIN at ATL WAS at SEA
  ARI at STL CLE at CIN NE at PHI NYG at NO (mon)

a d v e r t i s e m e n t