The 3-2 Pittsburgh Steelers will play the 5-0 Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium Sunday afternoon in a Week 6 matchup and ahead of that game kicking off, there are several key storylines worth pointing out.
Below are what I consider to be the top five storylines for both teams ahead of Sunday’s game that will kickoff at 4:25 p.m. EST.
Can Big Ben bounce back? – Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw five interceptions in the team’s Week 5 loss last Sunday to the Jacksonville Jaguars and while a few can be explained, they’re still turnovers nonetheless. Roethlisberger has previously thrown four interceptions in a single game twice and both times he didn’t play overly well the following week. Sunday in Kansas City, Roethlisberger will look to show that he can bounce back against an undefeated Chiefs team at the very loud Arrowhead Stadium. A Steelers win will keep the Roethlisberger naysayers away for a little while, while a loss, especially one that can be traced back to poor play of the quarterback, will certainly attract more vultures.
Bell wants to be rung more – Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell made it clear after Sunday’s loss to the Jaguars that he believed the offense should have run the football more against the Jaguars. This has to be the first time a running back has said he wants the football in his hands more following a loss. All joking aside, the Steelers offense probably should have tried to run a little more against the Jaguars and especially during the first few series of the second half. Sunday in Kansas City the Steelers will play a Chiefs defense that has had problems against the run this season. With that in mind and the fact that Bell has previously played well against the Chiefs, the running back very well might end up getting close to the amount of touches on Sunday that he had a few weeks ago against the Baltimore Ravens.
Deebo unleashed – After being inactive for the Steelers last two games, veteran outside linebacker James Harrison is scheduled to dress and play Sunday against the Chiefs. The Steelers base 3-4 defense has struggled this season against the run and those problems have included the edge not being set properly more than just a few times. Harrison has only played seven defensive snaps in total so far this season and he might just quadruple that amount on Sunday against the Chiefs. Harrison has given Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher fits in the past so that matchup, assuming it happens, will certainly be one to keep a close eye on.
Gilbert no longer hamstrung – The Steelers should have starting right tackle Marcus Gilbert back on the field Sunday against the Chiefs as he was able to practice fully all week. Gilbert has missed the Steelers last three games with a hamstring injury and the offense has missed him in return. Gilbert returns just in time to go against Chiefs outside linebackers Justin Houston, Dee Ford and Frank Zombo. Those three players have a combined seven sacks entering Week 6 of the season. Gilbert’s return should also help boost the Steelers running game that could include backup tackler Chris Hubbard returning to his role as an occasionally used blocking tight end.
Mr. Rogers returns to the neighborhood – After spending the last two games on the Steelers inactive list in an effort to try to “recenter” himself, wide receiver Eli Rogers is expected to dress and play Sunday in Kansas City against the Chiefs. Rogers will likely get quite a bit of work in the slot against the Chiefs on Sunday and he just might be allowed to resume returning punts again. Rogers needs to work the middle of the field against the Chiefs defense and make sure he gets maximum YAC after every reception. He could wind up being an important offensive piece for the Steelers offense against the Chiefs.