Two heavyweights will square off on Sunday Night Football this evening in Pittsburgh at Heinz Field. The Los Angeles Chargers a heavyweight? Yeah, when you are an 8-3 team and won seven of their last eight games. Philip Rivers is having an MVP like season, but you won’t hear much about it because of the show Patrick Mahomes and Drew Brees have been putting on.
With that said, Rivers has put on a show as well that shouldn’t go unnoticed. Rivers has also had an effective running game led by Melvin Gordon. There is a problem with that, though. Gordon has officially been ruled out with an MCL sprain. Sprains can linger even when ruled okay to play, so it’s something to keep an eye on moving forward.
The Chargers are trailing the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West by a game. The Chiefs are 9-2 while the Chargers are 8-3. Tiebreaker goes to KC at home the moment as a result of a 38-28 win for the Chiefs in Week 1. They will meet on December 13th for Thursday Night Football in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned for that one, which promises to be a heck of a game. Sunday night should provide a good one as well. Gordon would have been a nice weapon to have on the road in Pittsburgh, but he will be watching this one from the sideline.
In Gordon’s place will be a back-by-committee system. Austin Ekeler was signed as an undrafted rookie out of Western State Colorado last season. He will see most of the carries, with rookie Justin Jackson and Detrez Newsome helping out as well. It’s not Gordon, but they will be expected to produce despite little experience from all three of them.
It’s going to have to happen in a hostile environment in Pittsburgh in a primetime game. The Steelers return home after a 24-17 loss to the Broncos last week. It ended in brutal fashion for the Steelers, as Roethlisberger threw an interception on the 2-yard line with just minutes remaining. We’ll see if the hard loss carries over and impacts them this week. Head below for our free Chargers vs. Steelers pick.
L.A. Chargers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers NFL Week 13 Betting Odds:
vs. Steelers -3(-110)
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Chargers vs. Steelers Pick:
Like I said with the Patriots. It’s December now so let’s see where they are at in the most important month of the season. That goes for the Chargers too, because there are plenty of non-believers out there. The Chargers haven’t been featured in many primetime games, so they’ve been shielded from public view.
As a result, what you get is no one who has been exposed to Rivers and the Chargers this season. They can’t even get any attention in the local scene because of the Rams. The Chargers will have their platform this evening in Pittsburgh.
Rivers has thrown 26 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. His QB rating has been stellar at 115.7. Mahomes and Brees are the only quarterbacks in the league who have a higher rating. We’ll see how he performs in this environment with the pressure on, though.
The Chargers haven’t had too many of those games this season. They blasted the Arizona Cardinals, 45-10, in a win that impressed nobody considering who the opponent was. One of the underlying driving forces of the Chargers has been their defense. They have given up 14.1 points per game in their previous seven games, but that number could be deceiving.
Why is it deceiving? Look at the offenses they played during that stretch. The Raiders twice, Browns, Titans, Seahawks, Broncos, and Cardinals. Denver ranks 15th and Seattle 16th offensively in the league. Those are the best from that group. The Steelers are 4th with 420.8 yards of offense per game.
The last time they played a solid offense, the Rams throttled the Chargers for 35 points. They were outgained by 165 yards in that contest. Goff threw for over 350 yards and Gurley topped 100 yards on the ground. Don’t expect a performance like that from the Steelers, but I like them to move the ball here. Note that the Steelers have gone 6-0 ATS in their last six games following a loss. They’ve been on the road the last two weeks and should feel more comfortable in the spotlight at Heinz Field on Sunday Night Football. I’ve been praising how under the radar the Chargers have been all season, but look for the Steelers to steal the Chargers’ thunder on the national stage Sunday night.