In many ways, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season should already be considered a success. Picked by many to finish third or fourth in the AFC North, the Steelers instead finished second in the division with a 9-7-1 record. Their record was good enough to secure the AFC’s seventh and final playoff spot while assuring that Ben Roethlisberger’s final game would be played in the postseason.
If Pittsburgh wants to make this season truly special, it can do so by upsetting the Chiefs, who overcame a 3-4 start to capture the AFC’s No. 2 seed by virtue of their 12-5 regular season record. One of the Chiefs’ wins this season was a 36-10 blowout win over the Steelers back in Week 16. That game likely contributed to Kansas City being a 12.5 point favorite to beat the Steelers again in the wild-card round. Sunday night’s game marks only the second time that the Steelers have been this big of an underdog in the playoffs.
We’ll preview the game along with giving our prediction for Saturday’s outcome. Here’s how you can follow the action in real time.
How to watch
Date: Sunday, January 16 | Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
Location: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City)
TV: NBC | Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Follow: CBS Sports App
Odds: Chiefs -12.5, O/U 45
When the Steelers have the ball
The big question is how effective Najee Harris will be after the Steelers’ rookie running back sustained an elbow injury in last week’s win in Baltimore. If Harris is compromised, that puts more of the onus on Roethlisberger, who at times has been able to will Pittsburgh’s offense on scoring drives.
Harris is a crucial part of the offense, but the Steelers have other playmakers in receiver Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth. Pittsburgh may also have JuJu Smith-Schuster after the former Pro Bowler returned to practice this week. Smith-Schuster has been out since…