OTs Kelvin Beachum/Marcus Gilbert vs. LBs Tamba Hali/Justin Houston
The Steelers offense will have a tough challenge today in Kansas City's defense, but the most important aspect will be containing arguably one of the best pass-rush duos in the league in Hali and Houston. The strong and athletic linebackers have combined for 23 sacks this season and Houston is tied for the league high with 17. The Steelers have only allowed two sacks over the past three games and it will be pivotal for the offensive line, especially Beachum and Gilbert, to protect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger from Hali, Houston and the Chiefs' pass rush.
RB Le'Veon Bell vs. RB Jamaal Charles
Today's game features two of the most versatile running backs in the league in Bell and Charles. In his second season, Bell has proven that he can do a little bit of everything for the Steelers out of the backfield. The AFC leading rusher has registered 1,278 yards on the ground and his 2,043 yards from scrimmage rank second in the NFL. The speedy and dynamic Charles has demonstrated that he is a threat every time he touches the ball as his 14 touchdowns from scrimmage are tied for tops in the league. He has recorded 1,185 yards from scrimmage (950 rushing, 235 receiving) and is on pace to rush for at least 1,000 yards for the third consecutive season.
CB William Gay vs. CB Sean Smith
Last week in Atlanta, Gay became the first player in team history to return three interceptions for touchdowns in the same season. He continues to be the Steelers most consistent player in the secondary as the eighth-year pro leads the team with 16 passes defensed while adding 56 tackles (47 solo). The physical Smith possesses rare size (6-foot-3) at the cornerback position and his 16 passes defensed rank sixth in the league. With top-10 rushing offenses on both sides of the ball, the play-action game will be utilized by each team to catch the defense off guard. It will be imperative for the secondaries to play true to their assignments and coverage responsibilities.