Patrick Mahomes has led the Kansas City Chiefs to a dominant second half of the 2021 season. The Chiefs are winners of seven straight games and nine of their last 11. Mahomes has settled into the offense, and while he's not playing at the same level he has for the last three years, he's playing complementary football.
But the Chiefs have suffered what every NFL team has been suffering lately. A COVID-19 outbreak has affected the Chiefs over the past two days. Fourteen players have been placed on the COVID list ahead of their Week 16 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
How will COVID challenge the Chiefs as they try to hold off the New England Patriots for the AFC's number one seed?
How Covid-19 can affect Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs
The most notable Chiefs on the COVID list are Patrick Mahomes' top receivers. Travis Kelce, who is coming off his best game of the season, was placed on the list Monday. He has a good chance to play Sunday as he's vaccinated.
But Tyreek Hill was placed on the COVID list Tuesday, and his status is more uncertain. Hill and Kelce are the most vital players on the Chiefs, outside of Patrick Mahomes.
The Chiefs play the Steelers, who are a scrappy team. The Steelers are in the mix for the AFC North race, so they'll be playing with a lot of motivation.
As much as the Patrick Mahomes-led offense is affected by COVID, the defense suffered some losses due to COVID. Nick Bolton, in particular, has come on strong in recent weeks at linebacker.
The Chiefs' defense is responsible for their seven-game winning streak. Before giving up 28 points to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 15, their defense was doing a magnificent job at keeping opponents out of the end zone.
The Steelers don't do anything flashy and have a reputation of winning ugly. It will help the Chiefs that they're in their building, rather than Pittsburgh.
The Chiefs are hoping they get a considerable amount of their roster back in time for Sunday. The Chiefs are as hot as any team in the league, and they'd hate for COVID to ruin their momentum.
As long as Patrick Mahomes is behind center, however, the Chiefs will go into the game believing they can beat the Steelers.