It’s not often a team commits six turnovers and doesn’t lose. The Pittsburgh Steelers had their chances to put the game away, but costly miscues prevented them from defeating the Browns, instead settling for a boring, 21-21, tie. The Kansas City Chiefs were far from boring in their season-opening win over division rival Los Angeles, using the strong arm of Patrick Mahomes and the shiftiness of Tyreek Hill to frustrate the Bolts. Hill said the Chiefs will have the best offense in the NFL and they didn’t disappoint. They look to continue that onslaught against a hungry Steelers team in Week 2.
This matchup in Week 2 of the regular season will take place on Sunday, September 16, 2018, at 1 p.m. ET at Heinz Field.
NFL Opening Odds at BookMaker.eu
Kansas City Chiefs +5.5
Pittsburgh Steelers -5.5
It looks like the sharps are backing Kansas City in this one. The Chiefs are getting a majority of the early action but the line spiked to Pittsburgh -5.5 from its opening of -4. With 90 percent of the betting public backing the over on the opening total of 50.5, that number climbed to its current 53.
Eric Berry – The Chiefs starting safety made the trip but didn’t play in Kansas City’s win over the Chargers as he continues to rebound from an injury that sidelined him during the preseason. It didn’t affect the Chiefs in the outcome, but it did allow Philip Rivers to throw for 424 yards. And if it wasn’t for Hill the result might have been different. Berry is getting close to a return and he would help defending the Steelers passing game.
Joe Haden – The Steelers are faced with a similar situation in their secondary after Haden hobbled off with a hamstring issue. The injury isn’t serious but it could keep the Pro Bowler sidelined in Week 2, which leaves second-year cornerback Cameron Sutton as a replacement against Mahomes and the Chiefs shifty receivers.
Matchup to Watch
It’s the young gun versus the old guard in a battle of quarterbacks. Making his first start in a meaningful game, Mahomes showed why the Chiefs dealt Alex Smith during the offseason. Throwing four touchdown passes and hitting 15 of 27 for 256 yards, Mahomes utilized all his weapons in the 38-28 win, completing passes to seven different receivers.
The final numbers for Ben Roethlisberger were misleading. He threw for 335 yards and a touchdown, and with his new svelte figure scampered for 16 yards on three attempts. But the offense went cold for long stretches and Big Ben was responsible for five of the team’s six turnovers. The connection with Antonio Brown seemed off, despite the two hooking up nine times for 93 yards. The miserable conditions had a lot to do with it and I doubt we see Big Ben play this poorly on Sunday.
Player to Watch
Mahomes knows exactly what to do with the football and that’s to get it in the hands of Hill, who amassed 268 all-purpose yards against the Chargers. Hill took a punt 91 yards for a score to give the Chiefs an early lead, and he capped his first quarter scoring outburst with a 58-yard catch and run touchdown, using his blazing speed to outrun defenders. He finished off the Chiefs scoring with a 1-yard touchdown catch to put the game away.
The Bolts made the poor decision to kick to Hill, who returned his fourth punt for a touchdown in his 32 games. It was also Kansas City’s league-best seventh punt return touchdown since 2013.
Free ATS Pick
Just like last season when they put up lopsided numbers on offense, the Chiefs are at it again; only this time with Mahomes running the show. He was poised and confident in his first opening day start and Kansas City looked impressive in taking down the Bolts. But they’ve had problems with the Steelers in the past and I expect Big Ben and Co. to respond after a lackluster performance in Cleveland.
James Connor was exceptional taking over for Le’Veon Bell and the group will only get better with him in the backfield. Sure, he’s not Bell, but few are. However, Connor held his own and displayed solid running skills. And I don’t expect Roethlisberger to be so careless with the football. In better conditions, the Steelers are explosive and they will exploit the Chiefs secondary for a cover that goes over the total.
NFL Betting Odds: Steelers 34, Chiefs 27
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