RDS and RDS Direct will present the playoff game between the Steelers and the Chiefs at 8:15 p.m. Sunday.
PRE-MATCH | ANALYSIS BY PIERRE VERCHEVAL
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger put it bluntly on the slim possibility of the Pittsburgh Steelers advancing to the next round of the playoffs. Particularly because of the humiliation they suffered against the Kansas City Chiefs a few weeks earlier at Arrowhead Stadium.
First, the Steelers head coach: « I’m not sure how much you can get out of this loss, to be honest with you. They beat us to the bone,” Tomlin said of the first meeting between the two teams. More than anything else, it’s a cover. »
Then the quarterback: « We’re probably not supposed to be here, » Roethlisberger said. We’re probably not a great football team. Among the 14 clubs, we are plausibly the 14th. We’re the underdogs by a double-digit mark in the playoffs. »
It’s almost a question of whether the Steelers will show up for Sunday night’s game.
However, they only have to look at their own history in the playoffs to know there is always a chance. Roethlisberger, who will possibly retire after the season, was in his second year as a pro in 2005 when the Steelers managed to turn a draft pick into a Super Bowl triumph.
Few at the time expected to see a team that featured a near-retirement Jerome Bettis make such an inspired push into the playoffs.
« We’re probably down by 20 points, » Roethlisberger said. And we’re up against the best team, the one that won the AFC for the last two seasons, and possibly the best team in football. We have no chance. So let’s go to the field, let’s play and have fun. »
Indeed, the Steelers (9-7-1) will have nothing to lose while the Chiefs (12-5) carry the burden of favorites.
Not only have the Chiefs won the last two AFC titles, but they have made the last three conference finals and won the Western Division for a record sixth straight year.
The organization that has gone nearly three decades without winning a home playoff game has now won its last five. The Chiefs can thank the talented players surrounding one of this year’s Pro Bowl quarterbacks, Patrick Mahomes.
« I think the first thing you notice is that at any time, one play can change the whole game, » Mahomes said. It’s the same in season, but during the playoffs, it takes on another level. A game can end your season or extend it. »
The Chiefs were dominant, especially in the mid-season, when what had been one of the worst defenses in the league turned around. They stumbled late in the season, however, losing to the Cincinnati Bengals in the ultimate game, costing them the chance to finish first in the All-American, earn a second-round bye and win. have home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
They can start the playoffs at Arrowhead Stadium. However, instead of spending the weekend resting for the conference semi-finals, they will have to cross swords with the unapologetic Steelers on Sunday night.
« Right now our focus is completely on the Steelers, » head coach Andy Reid said. It takes every effort to prepare to face this team. »