The Pittsburgh Steelers came up with a huge win over AFC North rival, the Cincinnati Bengals, on Saturday 18-16, and face the best defense in the league next Sunday against the Denver Broncos. The Kansas City Chiefs also came up with a big win, as they won their first playoff game in 22 years over the Houston Texans 30-0. Third-year head coach Andy Reid will look to prepare his team for a difficult matchup against the New England Patriots at Foxboro.
The Steelers gave up all 16 points in an intense fourth quarter, and lost quarterback Ben Roethlisberger with a shoulder injury. Roethlisberger was able to return late and lead a game-winning field goal drive. The Bengals defense ended their playoff lives Saturday with two questionable penalties, including linebacker Vontaze Burfict's reckless hit on Steelers wideout Antonio Brown.
There were a ton of injuries in the physical matchup, as Brown was just one top-tier talent to get injured - Brown is reportedly in the NFL's concussion protocol now. The Bengals also lost running back Giovani Bernard with a concussion after taking a huge hit from Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier.
The AFC North rivalry matchup was clearly an exciting playoff game, but the ending will forever be remembered for three terrible mistakes in the final minutes, as Bengals running back Jeremy Hill fumbled prior to the Steelers drive that was capped with two penalties. The Chiefs won their game Sunday by a huge margin, and their defense can challenge any team in the NFL.
The Chiefs defense was dominant on Saturday forcing Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer to commit plenty of mistakes. Hoyer finished with four interceptions. The Chiefs lost a key player in wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who reportedly suffered an ACL injury and is scheduled to have an MRI on Sunday to determine the severity. Andy Reid's offense punished the Texans rush defense, running the ball 37 times for 141 yards and a touchdown.
While the Chiefs defense shutout the Texans in the first-round of the playoffs they face a much tougher opponent next Saturday in New England. The Patriots finished the regular season scoring the third-most points per game (29.1) in the NFL. The Chiefs know how difficult it is to beat quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick in the playoffs, and it looks to be a very intriguing matchup next Saturday afternoon.
The Broncos and Steelers will meet for the second time this season with Pittsburgh coming away with the victory 34-27 back in December. Next Sunday the Steelers will have to travel to Mile High to face the Broncos, and the status of Ben Roethlisberger's shoulder will be a huge topic going into this anticipated divisional round matchup.