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Steelers exact revenge on Chiefs, sew up playoff spot

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The Steelers clinched a playoff spot on Sunday, beating the Kansas City Chiefs, 20-12, in Pittsburgh. Our takeaways:

1. The Steelers were displeased when Chiefs coach Andy Reid rested his starters in last year's season finale, costing Pittsburgh a trip to the postseason. Mike Tomlin's squad exacted revenge on Sunday, propelling themselves into January while sending Reid's season to the precipice. Having lost four of their last five games, the Chiefs will have to beat the Chargers and get help elsewhere to continue playing beyond Week 17.

2. Pittsburgh's secondary remains a mess, but they have to be feeling better about their pass rush and run defense with James Harrison back in the lineup. In a game that featured NFL sack leader Justin Houston, Harrison was the best defensive player on the field, beating Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher and teaming with Lawrence Timmons, Jason Worilds and Cameron Heyward to harass Alex Smith throughout the afternoon. Tomlin told the broadcast team at halftime that his is the best red-zone defense in the NFL this season. That side of the ball isn't the liability we thought it was a month ago.

3. Antonio Brown entered the game with more receptions, yards and touchdowns than the entire Chiefs wide receiver corps. He exited the game with 122 receptions, 1,570 yards and 12 touchdowns on the season. Despite being limited to just one reception, Le'Veon Bell is up to 2,115 yards from scrimmage with one game to go. Both players merit All-Pro selections. Ben Roethlisberger isn't far behind at quarterback.

4. Houston picked up another sack, bringing him within two of Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas' single-season franchise record of 20. A Defensive Player of the Year candidate if not for J.J. Watt's otherworldly season, Houston should brace for the franchise tag as an impending free agent.

5. The Chiefs have a find in undrafted rookie Albert Wilson, who has shown elusiveness after the catch the past two weeks. Smith also missed him wide open on a play that should have gone for a long touchdown. With Donnie Avery benched and Dwayne Bowe's Kansas City future up in the air, Wilson could find himself with a significant role in 2015.

6. De'Anthony Thomas has been the multi-position playmaker Dexter McCluster was billed to be but never realized in Kansas City. If the 2014 NFL Draft was done over again, he would go higher than the fourth round.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every Week 16 game and breaks down the playoff picture. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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