Here is who national experts are predicting will win Chiefs-Steelers Wild Card Game

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·6 min read
Nick Tre. Smith/Special to the Star
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Recent history suggests the Steelers don’t have much of a chance in the AFC Wild Card Game in Kansas City, because the Chiefs crushed Pittsburgh 36-10 just three weeks ago.

And the oddsmakers have the Chiefs as a nearly two-touchdown favorite on Sunday.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is aware of all of that and said this week: “We don’t have a chance, so let’s just go in and play and have fun.”

Do the NFL pundits agree with Big Ben about the Steelers’ chances? Here is what 65 national experts are saying about the game, which kicks off at 7:15 p.m. and will be broadcast on KSHB (Ch. 41).

The Chiefs will win, says ProFootballTalk’s Michael David Smith. He predicted a 33-14 score and wrote: “This will be Ben Roethlisberger‘s last game, and I think it will be an ugly one for the Steelers, who just don’t have the personnel to keep up with the Chiefs.” But Mike Florio picked a 27-24 Steelers win. He wrote: “(W)ith Mike Tomlin coaching and Ben Roethlisberger entering his final postseason run — and the Steelers embracing a natural and authentic nothing-to-lose vibe, they can do the unthinkable if they can deliver an early uppercut to a flatfooted favorite with players who, no matter what they hear from the coaching staff, will approach this one like the easy win that it should be.”

The Chiefs will cover the line, says the New York Times’ Emmanuel Morgan.This is from his story: “Sure, Kansas City underwhelmed in its season-ending win against the Broncos, but nothing in Pittsburgh’s recent performances points to the Steelers being more than a bump in the road.”

A 35-16 Chiefs win is the prediction from Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com. Here is an excerpt from the story: “Playing a proud opponent twice in such a short span can be tricky, but the Chiefs’ offense played its best in the season’s final month. The Steelers’ defense, fresh off giving up 249 yards rushing to Latavius Murray, Tyler Huntley and Co., is begging to be run on. Pittsburgh’s best chance is to throw hope balls down the sideline against Kansas City’s man coverage, which has been leaky of late. It’s a high-variance strategy that could lead to some anxious moments in Arrowhead or some turnovers in a blowout. I’m leaning toward the latter.”

A 35-20 Chiefs victory is the prediction from Bill Bender of the Sporting News. He wrote: “The Steelers rallied into the postseason, and they will be playing with nothing to lose behind Ben Roethlisberger, who is 13-9 in the postseason. Patrick Mahomes II, however, is at home, and this is the same Chiefs team that beat the Steelers 36-10 in Week 16. It’s closer this time, but the Chiefs move on.”

A 36-20 Chiefs win is the prediction from Yardbarker’s Chris Mueller. Here is a snippet from his story: “These teams met three weeks ago, and the Chiefs humiliated the Steelers 36-10, in a game that wasn’t even that close. What’s more, Kansas City did all of that without the services of Travis Kelce, who was on the reserve/COVID list. So what can the Steelers do differently this time? Not turn the ball over, for one thing. Pittsburgh gave it away three times in the first meeting, making their already anemic offense that much worse. They should be able to rush the passer much more effectively as well; T.J. Watt was trying to play through broken ribs the first time around and should be much closer to 100 percent for this game.”

Former Patriots receiver Julian Edelman, speaking on “Inside the NFL” on Paramount+, gives the Chiefs the nod. “Kansas City, they’re going to cover,” Edelman said. “They have offense galore. The offense for the Steelers had so much trouble moving the ball last week against a decimated Ravens team. I have to go with (Kansas City).”

A 33-16 Chiefs win is the call from Ben Rolfe of Pro Football Network.This is from his story: “We saw this game in Week 16 and it was not pretty. Only losing by 26 points in that matchup somewhat flattered the Steelers, and that should be the case again. The Chiefs are not perfect right now, but this is an odd game to have picked as the Sunday Night Football offering.”

All eight writers for CBS Sports predicted a Chiefs victory: Pete Prisco, Jason LaCanfora, Will Brinson, Jared Dubin, Ryan Wilson, John Breech, Dave Richard and Jamey Eisenberg. Prisco sees the Chiefs winning 28-23. Here is an excerpt: “The Steelers are healthier now and have a coach in Mike Tomlin who knows how to win in the playoffs. The Chiefs have had defensive issues the past two weeks, which could be a problem. The Steelers can’t stop the run, but the Chiefs don’t run it that much, and if they do that takes away the strength of their team. That’s why I think this one will be close.”

Each of the eight Athletic writers believe the Chiefs will win: Nick Kosmider, Tashan Reed, Michael-Shawn Dugar, Mark Kaboly, Ben Standig, Jay Morrison, Chris Burke and Katherine Terrell. This is part of the Athletic’s story by Nando Di Fino: “I like the Steelers. A lot. Diontae Johnson is special, Najee Harris is a stud, T.J. Watt is a star. But the Chiefs are a team on a mission, and I think there’s a lot of unfinished business from last year.”

All 11 pundits at ESPN think the Chiefs will win: Mike Clay, Jeremy Fowler, Dan Graziano, Rob Ninkovich, Laura Rutledge, Seth Wickersham, Damien Woody, Emmanuel Acho, Matt Bowen, Domonique Foxworth and Kevin Seifert.

The seven writers at USA Today think the Chiefs will win: Jarrett Bell (34-20 final score), Nate Davis (27-16), Jori Epstein (28-20), Mike Freeman (24-14), Mike Jones (33-18), Mike Middlehurst-Schwartz (30-14) and Lorenzo Reyes (26-18).

Each of the 10 members of the Dallas Morning-News see the Chiefs winning: Tim Cowlishaw, Michael Gehlken, Dana Larson, Damon Marx, Jean-Jacques Taylor, Newy Scruggs, Kevin Sherrington, Craig Miller, Calvin Watkins and David Moore.

All seven staff writers at Sports Illustrated picked the Chiefs: Albert Breer, Gary Grammling, Jenny Vrenta, Andrew Brandt, Conor Orr, Greg Bishop and Mitch Goldich.

A Chiefs victory is the call from the two Sky Sports reporters: Neil Reynolds and Jeff Reibold.

A Chiefs win is the prediction from the four Athlon Sports writers: Bryan Fischer, Ben Weinrib, Aaron Wilson and Rob Doster.