Chiefs vs. Steelers game preview: Both looking for first win in Week 3

Justin K. Aller

The Chiefs and Steelers meet in a preseason tilt, hoping to get a win and stay healthy in the process.

On Saturday night at Heinz Field, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs will meet for a preseason contest in Week 3 of the exhibition schedule.

For both teams, the goal is to look as sharp as possible without anybody getting injured, especially players of great importance. Kansas City might sit superstar running back Jamaal Charles who is coming back from a strained foot, more as a precaution than anything else. Pittsburgh is already without its potential starting running back in Le'Veon Bell, who is out with a Lisfranc injury.

Week 3 has long been known as the most important week in preseason, when starters play into the third quarter and schemes aren't quite as vanilla. However, it's still August and teams aren't looking to go for the gusto.

Meet the Chiefs

Kansas City is a totally different team than the one which went 2-14 last season. Owner Clark Hunt went out and hired Andy Reid as head coach and John Dorsey as general manager to change the culture of this franchise. Reid has installed his west coast system on offense, while new defensive coordinator Bob Sutton has put in a much more aggressive defense.

With Alex Smith now at the helm, many believe the Chiefs could make a playoff run in the wide-open AFC. Smith isn't a great player, but he's smart and accurate, making him the prefect fit for Reid's offense. The biggest question mark is at wide receiver, where Dwayne Bowe is the only real playmaker. Donnie Avery could emerge to become Kansas City's second option along with Dexter McCluster in the slot, but these things need to be proven.

Meet the Steelers

The Steelers are looking to rebound from a rarity; missing the playoffs. Coach Mike Tomlin doesn't have much to work with on offense outside of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, with Mike Wallace and Rashard Mendenhall now on the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals respectively. Bell and Jonathan Dwyer are expected to replace Mendenhall and Emmanuel Sanders is being looked upon to step up in Wallace's absence.

Defensively, Pittsburgh is very old but has an infusion of youth with first round pick Jarvis Jones playing as an outside linebacker opposite LaMarr Woodley. Jones is stepping into the role left by James Harrison, who was released in the offseason and signed by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Local takes: Chiefs

Over at Arrowhead Pride, Joel Thorman talks about how well Kansas City's special teams unit has played under new coach Dave Toub:

The strength of these Chiefs is that all 11 players on the field are working in concert with each other. They're on the same page and that's evidenced by the fact that there have been two kick returns over 79 yards and two punt returns over 50 yards in two games. It's clearly working.

Local takes: Steelers

Anthony Defeo of Behind The Steel Curtain says Dwyer went from being a possible roster casualty to potential starter in the blink of an eye:

Before Monday's performance against the Redskins, Dwyer wasn't even on Neal Coolong's projected 53 man roster. In just over two weeks, he might open the season as the Steelers starting running back.

None of the Steelers recent running back acquisitions, including Bell, have stepped up to seize control of the starting job. Dwyer just might be the guy that outlasts them all.

Follow the Fun

Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Arrowhead Pride and Behind The Steel Curtain, for more analysis and highlights from the game.

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Neither of these teams have won a game yet this preseason, mostly due to their depth players not holding up. For the Chiefs, the starters left against the San Francisco 49ers and the New Orleans Saints with leads only to watch the backups cough it up. In this matchup, both teams will likely play their key guys into the third quarter and perhaps right up until the beginning of the fourth. Since it's preseason and both of these teams appear to be just rounding into form, give me the home team.

My pick: Steelers 17, Chiefs 13


Pittsburgh is favored by three points in its second home preseason game of the year, according to

Next week

The Chiefs close out the exhibition slate at home against the Green Bay Packers next Thursday. Pittsburgh travels to play the Carolina Panthers on Thursday as well.

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