The Pittsburgh Steelers will play an undefeated Kansas City Chiefs team on the road Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium and for a second week in a row their offense will face a defense that has seemingly struggled against the run thus far this season.
For starters, the Chiefs defense enters Sunday’s game against the Steelers ranked 27th overall in the league in yards per carry (4.65) allowed. That raw stat, however, really doesn’t paint a full picture of how the Chiefs defense has played this season against opposing teams running backs.
If you break down the Chiefs run defense by opposing offensive positional rushes, you’ll discover that opposing running backs have averaged 4.10 yards per carry against that unit. In case you’re curious, that ranks them 20th overall in the NFL entering Week 6 against that particular position.
If you look at the play of the Chiefs run defense this season when it comes to successful run play rates against opposing running backs you’ll find they’ve allowed 45 of 106 total rushes (42.5%) to be successful. In order to put that success rate into some sort of perspective for you, while the Steelers defense has allowed opposing running backs to average 5.24 yards per carry against them through five games, only 48 of the 125 total rushes (38.4%) have been successful runs.
In short, and assuming the Steelers offense stays committed to the run on Sunday against the Chiefs, running back Le’Veon Bell should be expected to have a strong game on the ground in Kansas City.
While the Chiefs defense has obviously undergone some personnel changes on the defensive side of the football over the course of the last several years, Bell has historical had success against Kansas City and their defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, who has held that job since 2013.
In the four previous games that Bell has played against the Chiefs, which includes last year’s Divisional Round playoff game in Kansas City, he’s averaged 5.86 yards per carry on 85 total totes. If that isn’t enough to get you excited about Bell’s potential to have a good game on the ground Sunday in Kansas City the fact that he has a career run success rate of 51.8% against the Chiefs really should.
As long as the Steelers don’t get behind big on the scoreboard Sunday in Kansas City their offense should be expected to run Bell quite a bit in the game. Of course, we thought that might happen this past Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Bell ended that blowout loss with just 15 total carries for 47 yards.