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:
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
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Frank Gore's 52-yard run in 49ers-Chiefs game turns into a positive for KC http://t.co/0lvSRCp48S— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) August 22, 2013
Avery is indeed listed as the new starting WR on latest Chiefs depth chart. Wylie is listed as No. 2 at that spot, Jenkins No. 3— Adam Teicher (@adamteicher) August 19, 2013
#Steelers Bell has ligament tear in his foot. Will miss up to 6 weeks— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) August 21, 2013
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 Oddsshark.com.