Sunday Night Football: Week 6 Preview

Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Chargers

Dignity Sports Health Park

Carson, CA

Betting

The Chargers are the favorite to win this game (-275), as they should be, but don’t expect them to run away with a victory so easily. The Chargers are notorious for being disappointing in games that they should win, much like the Lions. A -6.0 point spread (-115) seems a little iffy considering the Chargers’ history even though they’re playing the Steelers and their 3rd-string QB. A fairly low total of 42.0 points (-115 Over) seems like a good place to attack. The Steelers don’t look like they’ll put up much of a fight on paper, so the UNDER might be profitable. I’d put my attention to an “Anytime Touchdown Scorer” with a Chargers player of choice because they are all +money except for Keenan Allen (-130). 

Injuries

The home team Chargers are in good shape heading into this game. A return of star TE Hunter Henry is imminent and the only other offensive injuries on the report are to backups Justin Jackson and Andre Patton. On defense, standout lineman Melvin Ingram III is questionable while reserve safety Nasir Adderly is doubtful. Also of note, kicker Michael Badgley is doubtful but the team does finally have another kicker on the roster. 

The Steelers are down to their 3rd-string QB as both Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph are out. The team will also be without starting receiver James Washington and impact runningback Jaylen Samuels. On defense, starters Mark Barron and Steven Nelson are also ruled out. Not a good sign that Pittsburgh will be without some of their best players and are down to the 3rd-string in the most important position.

Chargers Offense vs. Steelers Defense

Slot receivers feast against the Steelers! It’s been the case as long as I can remember because of the refusal of the Steelers to adjust and adapt their defensive scheme. Keenan Allen has run over 40% of his routes from the slot this season (https://www.playerprofiler.com/nfl/keenan-allen/#!#metrics) and is already one of the best receivers in the NFL regardless of matchup. This is an ideal spot for him to rack up yards and catches once again. If Hunter Henry returns to the field tonight, look for him to eat into some targets but he’ll likely have the speedy Devin Bush on him in tight coverage. Not to be overlooked, Travis Benjamin almost exclusively runs his routes from the slot (https://www.playerprofiler.com/nfl/travis-benjamin/). Throw in Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon III to chew the clock on this horrendous Steelers run defense that allows over 125 rushing yards per game and… phew… man.

Steelers Offense vs. Chargers Defense

The Chargers defense has been one of toughest to move the ball down the field on so far this season. A lot of this is due to the fact that they excel at pressuring the opposing quarterback. Joey Bosa is one of the best at his position in the entire NFL and it shows how much trouble he causes for offensive coordinators. Let’s take this information and look at how the Steelers are not even cracking 300 yards of TOTAL offense per game. Combine that with Devlin Hodges making his first career start and not having James Washington or Jaylen Samuels for safety check-downs and this one could get ugly. If it weren’t for the great equalizer in superstar JuJu Smith-Schuster, the Steelers would not stand a chance. However, JuJu will likely be shadowed by Casey Heyward who is the #1 corner in terms of “burn rate” this season. JuJu will have a tough time getting deep targets tonight as Heyward will be right on top of him all game long (https://www.playerprofiler.com/nfl/casey-hayward/).

Prediction

Steelers: 13

Chargers: 24

Guaranteed Touchdown Scorer: Keenan Allen

Dart Throw Touchdown Scorer: Benny Snell Jr.

Conclusion

The writing on the wall says that this game will be a one-sided battle with the Chargers coming out on top. But, the Chargers history in these types of games makes it a little questionable. Proceed with caution and let me know who you think will win in the comments down below!

-Mitchell Seefeldt

photo credit: Jeffrey Beall Philip Rivers via photopin (license)

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