The Kansas City Chiefs will host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs.
Here are eight stats to know heading into the game:
1. The Arrowhead Advantage
It’s not a myth or a marketing campaign; it’s a real thing.
It’s proven that, when it’s full of Chiefs Kingdom, Arrowhead Stadium is the loudest in the world, and it’s translated to an impact of what happens on the field.
Under Andy Reid, the Chiefs are 23-9 at Arrowhead Stadium, including having won 18 of their last 23.
During that span, the Chiefs have outscored opponents by more than nine points per game.
This year, the Chiefs’ opponents combined to average 23.6 points per game overall, but when faced with the noise and task of playing at Arrowhead, these same teams mustered just 15.8 points per game.
The San Diego Chargers in Week 1 (27) were the only team to outperform their season average (25.5).
2. Some odds are in the Chiefs’ favor
The Chiefs have a 64 percent chance of winning Sunday’s game against the Steelers, according to the folks over at FiveThirtyEight.com.
They are also given the second-best odds to win the Super Bowl at 15 percent, which trails only the New England Patriots (35 percent).
3. Steelers’ sack totals vs. Chiefs offensive line
Through Week 8, the Steelers ranked dead last in the NFL with 8.0 sacks. Since then, they have the most sacks in the NFL with 30.0. The Steelers kept the trend going last Sunday against the Dolphins, tallying a postseason franchise record with 5.0 sacks.
Their uptick in sacks can be attributed to the return of linebackers Bud Dupree (4.5 sacks) and Ryan Shazier (3.5 sacks) from early season injuries.
Something has to give on Sunday, as the Chiefs have allowed just 4.0 sacks in its last five regular-season games, tied with New England and Miami for the fewest in the NFL.
4. The impact of
Hill was recently named a unanimous first-team All-Pro as a punt returner, and in looking at the matchup on Sunday, the Steelers punt coverage unit ranks 24th in the league, allowing an average of 9.6 yards per return.
In five postseason games, Alex Smith has tossed 11 touchdowns to just one interception. He owns a 99.1 quarterback rating in those games, throwing for 240-plus yards in three of them.
Since 2011, Smith’s 99.1 postseason passer rating is the second best in the NFL among qualified quarterbacks, behind only Joe Flacco (107.5 in eight games). His passer rating is better than Drew Brees (98.6 in four games), Eli Manning (96.6 in five games) and Ben Roethlisberger (86.1 in five games), to name a few with a similar number of games played.
Highest career playoff passer rating:— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) January 11, 2017
6. Le’Veon Bell is ridiculously good
Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell has the most scrimmage yards in the NFL since returning from his three-game suspension to begin the season (1,884). Bell made his season debut against the Chiefs in Week 4, rushing for 144 yards on 18 attempts.
Since he entered the league in 2013, Bell has averaged the most yards from scrimmage per game in the NFL (128.7).
7. The Steelers are a different team offensively at home and on the road
The Steelers are averaging 28.3 points per game at home this season as opposed to just 21.6 points per game on the road.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger owns a 116.7 quarterback rating at home this season, tossing 20 touchdowns to only five interceptions with a 70.8 completion percentage. On the road, however, he has a 78.4 passer rating with nine touchdowns to eight interceptions and a 59.4 completion percentage.
The Steelers played two games on the road this season against teams that finished with a winning record, and they were 1-1 in those contests.
They beat Washington in Week 1 and fell to Miami in Week 6.
It’s also important to note that the Steelers gave up 21 or more points in three road games this season, and they lost each of those games.
8. The Chiefs defense has come to play at home
The Chiefs are 12-2 in their last 14 games at Arrowhead Stadium, tallying 27 sacks and 17 interceptions in that time. That streak began with a 23-10 win over the Steelers last year at Arrowhead.