Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 11/9/12
Monday night will showcase two teams headed in two very different directions in 2012. The 1-7 Chiefs will come to Heinz Field to meet the 5-3 Pittsburgh Steelers who may have finally found their stride.This will also be the first matchup for Steelers' offensive coordinator - and former Chiefs' head coach - Todd Haley against his former team.While the Steelers' stock is rising, the Chiefs' is at an all-time low, hitting rock bottom during the controversy surrounding fans allegedly cheering an injury to starting quarterback Matt Cassel.The game may look like an impending slaughter, but the Chiefs actually match up well defensively with the Steelers, who have a history of struggling against inferior teams under the bright lights of prime time football.Here are my THREE BOLD PREDICTIONS for Monday Night Football.PREDICTION #1 - Kansas City will be forced into a one-dimensional offense.The Chiefs average just under 208 passing yards per game, while the Steelers - even with a lack of interceptions - allow an average of just 174 yards per game. If the stats hold true, the Chiefs may have a tough time in the passing game.However, the Steelers should be cautious of underestimating the Chiefs' rushing attack that is ranked 3rd in the league. With safety Troy Polamalu still nursing a calf injury, the dynamic of the rush defense is not as strong on the outside.What will really force Kansas City to resort to a ground game, is if the Steelers can jump out to an early lead. If this scenario comes to fruition, we could be in for a slobber-knocker.PREDICTION #2 - Ben Roethlisberger will struggle to get the ball downfield.The two bright spots for the Kansas City Chiefs are the aforementioned running game and pass defense, which is ranked 11th in the league with 221.5 passing yards per game allowed.Ben Roethlisberger has been having a stellar season and could wind up with a career high in touchdown passes if he stays on pace. However, he will be without star receiver Antonio Brown who exited last week's game in the first half with an ankle/foot injury.Brown isn't expected to miss much time, but will be kept out of Monday's game as a precaution with three divisional games coming up. So the Steeler offense will have to do without one of their best offensive weapons and kick returner.They can survive against Kansas City without Brown. Mike Wallace hasn't been his usual self, but is still the fastest player in the league and always a threat, and Jerricho Cotchery has filled in well as a possession receiver in Brown's absence.Still, without Brown, Wallace will be double covered and Big Ben could be forced to rely on short passes to move down the field.PREDICTION #3 - The Steelers will get a 4th consecutive game over 100 yards rushing.With the possibility of a limited passing attack from Pittsburgh, it is a good assumption that they too will rely on the ground game to get the job done against Kansas City.All three of Pittsburgh's running backs could be in uniform Monday, including starter Rashard Mendenhall who has barely played this season. Backups Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman have done nicely during the Steelers' three-game winning streak, combining for over 100 yards rushing in all three wins.The Steelers have had their share of offensive line woes in 2012  with star center Maurkice Pouncey missing time and top-pick David DeCastro lost for the season with a knee injury.With Pouncey back last week, the offensive line did very will in run-block schemes, and revealed that getting the offensive line moving forward instead of backward is a good way to mask their issues.All of this is a recipe for a solid - if not dominant - rushing attack against the Chiefs on Monday Night Football. If the Steelers are able to get out to that early lead, they could quite literally run out the clock for three quarters.
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