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Steelers To Get Back On Track Against Chargers

November 30, 2018

The Pittsburgh Steelers meet the Los Angeles Chargers in a matchup between two of the best teams in the NFL on Sunday Night Football at Heinz Field.  The Steelers have not been at their best in the last two weeks and have dropped out of the number two seed in the AFC Conference.

Pittsburgh had to erase a 16-point deficit to defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road, with Ben Roethlisberger putting his body on the line for the game-winning score. However, the Steelers quarterback then committed a costly mistake in the endzone to condemn his team to defeat against the Denver Broncos last time out.

Mike Tomlin’s men are still in command of the AFC North, but cannot afford another defeat in the AFC to give themselves a hope of securing a first-round bye. The Chargers bounced back from their loss at the hands of the Broncos by hammering the Arizona Cardinals last week.

Philip Rivers equalled an NFL record for consecutive completions, making his opening 25 throws in the triumph. The Chargers dominated the Cardinals to secure the victory, pulling in within a game of the Kansas City Chiefs at the top of the AFC West. They have to keep winning to keep the pressure on their rivals and have hope of earning a bye themselves in the playoff race.

Will Roethlisberger and the Steelers bounce back?

Pittsburgh Steelers

Roethlisberger made a huge error last week to cost his team the game against the Broncos. Pittsburgh had over 500 yards of offense in the game in Denver, but were not able to their dominance into a victory. For the second time in two weeks, the Steelers had the opportunity to win at the death, but the 35-year-old sent his pass straight into the arms of defensive tackle Shelby Harris to seal his side’s loss. Tomlin’s men have struggled to put points on the board over the last couple of matches.

They were brilliant against the Carolina Panthers in their last home match, scoring 52 points. Since then Pittsburgh were held in check for three quarters by the Jaguars before producing enough points in the fourth to win the contest. Turnovers were their downfall against the Broncos, including Xavier Grimble’s fumble through the endzone on the goalline. The Steelers cannot afford to make the same mistakes against quality opponents that they will be facing down the stretch.

Roethlisberger has been inconsistent this season, throwing 12 interceptions. He has made important plays in victories, but the errors are a concern. Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster are operating at a high level, with the latter scoring a 97-yard touchdown last week. James Conner has been brilliant throughout the campaign out of the backfield, replacing Le’Veon Bell, although his production has started to slow. There are questions for the Steelers to answer this week, with a win providing the perfect response to their doubters.

Los Angeles Chargers

Rivers is playing the best football of his career and proved it last week when he equalled the NFL record for most completions in a row. He successfully completed his opening 25 passes, including three touchdowns against the Cardinals before he failed to connect with a team-mate.

Rivers’ accuracy and composure in the pocket has been one of the driving forces behind Los Angeles’ success this term. Their victory over Arizona was their eighth of the campaign, which moved them one game behind the Chiefs in the AFC West. The playoff race is so tight in the AFC and one result could have huge ramifications for top two seeds. Kansas City hold top spot for now, but the Chargers could change that with an unbeaten run until the end of the campaign to snatch it from them.

However, an injury to running back Melvin Gordon has come at the wrong time. Gordon was enjoying a Pro Bowl calibre campaign, but he suffered an MCL injury last week that could knock him out of action for the next three weeks. He will definitely miss the clash against the Steelers, putting Austin Ekeler on the spot to replace him in the line-up.

Los Angeles have enough talent to cope with his absence, especially in their receiving corps. Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin and Antonio Gates have been on form. On the other side of the ball the presence of defensive end Joey Bosa will strike fear into the hearts of opposing offensive lineman. He notched two sacks last week and will be hungry for more after missing the majority of the campaign.

Head to Head

Games Played: 29 Pittsburgh Steelers: 22 Los Angeles Chargers: 7

The Steelers have dominated the matchup between the two sides historically. Roethlisberger and Rivers arrived in the NFL at the same time in 2004. Rivers found his way to the Chargers via the New York Giants in the aftermath of the Draft, while Roethlisberger was selected outright by Pittsburgh. The Steelers quarterback has won the duel between the two players, winning three out of their five contests, including one playoff game in the 2008 campaign.

Los Angeles eased to victory in the last encounter at Heinz Field in the 2012 season, recording a 34-24 triumph that was nowhere near as close as the final score suggested. However, Pittsburgh claimed revenge in 2015 thanks to Bell’s touchdown with no time left on the clock in a game where Michael Vick played in relief of an injured Roethlisberger.

Betting Options

The Steelers have to respond from their defeat to the Broncos last time out. They have been impressive at home this term, dropping only one game thus far to the Baltimore Ravens. Tomlin’s men played extremely well against the Panthers last time out at Heinz Field.

If they are able to conjure the same standard of performance then should be able to canter to victory. Los Angeles have been rolling on offense and have not been deterred from playing their natural game on the road, suffering only one loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams.

However, the Steelers will just have enough to edge the contest, with Gordon’s injury looming large for Anthony Lynn’s men. Back Pittsburgh for the win at odds of -175  with BetOnline, while take them on -5 spread with 888Sport at odds of 23/20 . The over/under line for total points to be scored has been set at 51.5 points by BetOnline, back the over due to the quality of both offenses at -107 .

Tips Summary

Pittsburgh Steelers To Beat Los Angeles Chargers
Sunday 2nd December 2018 20:20 ET (Monday 3rd December 2018 01:20 GMT)
Odds: -175

Pittsburgh Steelers -5 Spread
Sunday 2nd December 2018 20:20 ET (Monday 3rd December 2018 01:20 GMT)
Odds: 23/20

Over 51.5 Total Points To Be Scored
Sunday 2nd December 2018 20:20 ET (Monday 3rd December 2018 01:20 GMT)
Odds: -107

  • Ben Roethlisberger
  • Los Angeles Chargers
  • NFL
  • Philip Rivers
  • Pittsburgh Steelers

    About the author

    Simon Sinclair
    Simon Sinclair

    Sports Writer

    Simon is a freelance sports writer from the UK. He passionately writes about all kinds of sports, sharing his predictions on everything from the latest cricket matches and golf tournaments to major horse racing events and popular American sports.