In Week 18, the Pittsburgh Steelers needed a win, an Indianapolis Colts loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars and no tie in the Las Vegas Raiders vs. Los Angeles Chargers game to get into the playoffs.
Everything broke their way.
Now, Ben Roethlisberger’s final season continues with an improbable playoff berth, and current Super Bowl odds have the Steelers as massive underdogs at +6600.
Can Big Ben cap his career with a third Super Bowl ring? Read on to learn whether this Pittsburgh fairytale can come true.
Steelers (+12.5) at Chiefs
- Date: Jan. 16, 2022
- Time: 8:15 PM EST
- Venue: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO
This week, the Pittsburgh Steelers begin their climb on the “stairway to seven” against Patrick Mahomes and an explosive Kansas City Chiefs team.
Is Ben’s Arm Healthy?
Roethlisberger missed most of the 2019 season after having surgery to repair three of the five flexor tendons in his throwing elbow.
Since then, Big Ben’s completed passes only average three air yards from the line of scrimmage across both the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
Roethlisberger hasn’t missed significant time since his elbow injury, but his production dropped from his career-high 2018 season, where he threw for 5,129 yards and 34 TDs.
If Roethlisberger isn’t hurt, and there’s no indication that he is, his production seems to indicate that his arm doesn’t have the strength it did in his prime.
Najee Harris Must Run Hard
The Steelers drafted RB Najee Harris with their first selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, hoping to find a more reliable runner than the oft-injured James Conner.
After a slow start, Harris ended the season as the NFL’s fourth-leading rusher with 1,200 yards. His marquee game came in Week 17 against the Cleveland Browns, where he rushed for 188 yards.
Harris will have to be a factor for the Steelers if they hope to make it back to the Super Bowl.
Can Pittsburgh Beat the Chiefs?
These teams met in Week 16, and the Chiefs won that game 36-10. In that game, the Steelers were held scoreless in the first half. The Chiefs’ passing defense held Big Ben to only 159 passing yards for the game.
More troubling were the turnovers. The Steelers surrendered two fumbles, and Roethlisberger threw an interception.
The Steelers can’t afford these mistakes. Pittsburgh’s offense scored more than thirty points only once this season, and their average margin of victory is 5.23 points.
Pittsburgh averaged 6.7 points in the first half this season, while Kansas City averaged 14.9. Pittsburgh also averages 9.9 points per game in the fourth quarter, which is the second-highest in the league. The problem is that they score the second-fewest points in the first quarter, third-fewest in the second, and seventh-fewest in the third.
Big Ben and the Steelers must start hot and get some points in the first half.
Can Ben Roethlisberger Win the Super Bowl?
If Ben Roethlisberger is to ride off into the sunset with a third Lombardi Trophy, he must first lead the Steelers past the Kansas City Chiefs and the fourth most productive offense in the league (28.2 points per game).
To me, it looks like an impossible task given the Steelers’ scoring deficiencies, especially in the first half. Then again, before Week 18 kickoff, I thought the Steelers even making the playoffs looked impossible.
What do you think? Will Big Ben go out on top?
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