Featured Video from Scott Reichel
Where: Dignity Health Sports Park
When: Sunday, October 13, 2019, 8:20 pm ET
The AFC North meets the AFC West in a Sunday night showdown when the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Carson California for a matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers. Sunday night marks the 31st regular-season meeting and Pittsburgh holds a decisive 22-8 record over the Chargers with their last meeting ending in a 33-30 Chargers win last December in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh is 1-4 this season and is coming off a 26-23 overtime home loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Los Angeles is 2-3 and suffered a week five loss at home by a score of 20-13 to the Denver Broncos.
Who Starts at Quarterback?Pittsburgh suffered a tough home loss in overtime to the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday by a score of 26-23. Not only did the Steelers lose the game but also lost quarterback Mason Rudolph to a concussion and he is listed as questionable for Sunday nights game with Los Angeles. Rudolph did manage to throw for 131 yards and a touchdown before leaving the ballgame and running back James Connor rushed for 55 yards and a touchdown for the 1-4 Steelers. The Pittsburgh defense picked off three Lamar Jackson passes on the day and recorded five sacks on the day.
Los Angeles allows 334.8 total yards of offense per game with 215 passing yards and 119.8 rushing yards per game. The Chargers have recorded 12 sacks and four interceptions this season.
Pittsburgh is competitive but the million-dollar question is who will start Sunday at quarterback. Rudolph was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice and if he can’t go than the Steelers will look to rookie quarterback Delvin Hodges. Hodges came on in relief of Rudolph and threw for 68 yards on 7-9 passing and didn’t hurt the Steelers by committing any turnovers last Sunday against Baltimore.
The Steelers will look to attack the Chargers on the ground and running back James Conner is the Steelers leading rusher with 194 rushing yards on 58 attempts and a pair of touchdowns with an additional 153 receiving yards and a touchdown. Running back Jaylen Samuels has rushed for 50 yards and a touchdown and an additional 83 receiving yards this season.
It might prove difficult to throw the ball against the Chargers but when they do wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster is their main target with 333 receiving yards and two touchdowns with four plays of over 20 yards. Wide receiver Diontae Johnson has 198 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns, wide receiver James Washington has 140 receiving yards and tight end Vance McDonald has 122 receiving yards and two touchdowns this season.
Rudolph, Washington, and McDonald are all listed as questionable and linebacker James Connor0 is also listed as questionable for Sunday.
Chargers Hoping for Bounceback WinThe Chargers are 2-3 this season and suffered a disappointing home loss to the Denver Broncos last Sunday. The Chargers committed three turnovers last Sunday and were led by quarterback Phillip Rivers with 211 passing yards and two interceptions. Kicker Chase McLaughlin knocked down two of his three field-goal opportunities and Desmond Green took a punt 68 yards for a touchdown in the Chargers loss to the Broncos.
Coach Lynn speaks to the media ahead of practice. https://t.co/qQIOYMxWVD— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) October 9, 2019
Pittsburgh allows an average of 355.6 total yards per game on 229.8 passing yards and 125.8 rushing yards per game. The Steelers have recorded 19 sacks and six interceptions this season.
The Chargers are coming off a disappointing loss and no one will want to fix that more than Rivers and the veteran quarterback has thrown for 1465 yards with seven touchdowns, four interceptions and been sacked 11 times this season. The offensive line hasn’t been there for Rivers this season and they’d better be against one of the best passes rushes in the NFL this season.
The Chargers should be able to run the ball and they have a pair of running backs who can get the job done. Austin Ekeler leads the Chargers with 227 rushing yards and three touchdowns and Ekeler might be the odd man out now that Melvin Gordon has returned from his holdout.
Los Angeles has four receivers with over 100 receiving yards, and they’ll have their work cut out for them against the Steelers stout pass defense. Wide receiver Keenan Allen leads the Chargers with 470 receiving yards, three touchdowns and nine plays of over 20 or more yards. Ekeler is second on the team with 356 receiving yards and three touchdowns and wide receiver Mike Williams has 231 receiving yards and has yet to score a touchdown this season. Wide receiver Dontrelle Inman has 132 receiving yards to round out the Chargers receiving corps.
- Chargers are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. AFC.
- Chargers are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
- Chargers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
- Steelers are 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 games following an ATS win.
- Steelers are 49-24-2 ATS in their last 75 games in October.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Pittsburgh is going to cover the spread on the strength of its defense and specifically its pass rush. The Chargers can't seem to protect its number one asset and that's been a big problem this season. Plus the Chargers offense isn't as fluid as it's been in seasons past and I suspect the Steelers will be able to cause Rivers all sorts of problems on Sunday.
Pittsburgh will attempt to keep the ball out of the Chargers' hands and I look for Connor to have a big game.
I'm taking the points and going with the Steelers to cover the spread on Sunday.
Prediction: Steelers +6.5
Full-Game Total Pick
This game should actually be an interesting game with probably more scoring than most figure it to be. Both sides have offensive weapons and if they can all get on the same page offensively, these two teams could exceed the total by halftime. I saw the following trend I think might be helpful on Sunday night.
Prediction: Over 41