The injury report for the Pittsburgh Steelers keeps getting grimmer with every week. Ben Roethlisberger is already out for the season (elbow), and backup quarterback Mason Rudolph got hit so hard in Sunday’s game against Baltimore that he lay on the field, out cold, for some nervous moments. That meant that third-string quarterback Devlin Hodges had to lead the offense. However, the Ravens still needed overtime to prevail. The Chargers hosted the previously winless Denver Broncos this past Sunday, and they turned the ball over three times and failed to score an offensive touchdown for the first time in the last 56 games. Two of the turnovers happened inside the Broncos’ five-yard line. So to say that execution is an issue in Los Angeles so far would be a significant understatement. Don’t lock in any wagers until you check out our sports betting preview of this matchup between AFC teams that had viewed themselves as contenders but are currently trending downward.
Steelers vs Chargers 2019 NFL Week 6 Odds & Betting Preview
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 8, 2019
Why should you bet on the Steelers?
Pittsburgh has won seven of the last ten meetings with the Chargers, as the system that Mike Tomlin has in place has proven to be much more durable. The Steelers’ offense is significantly better than the Chargers’ in terms of ball security, and while the Pittsburgh defense has proven quite vulnerable in years past, it has been the more reliable unit this season.
The Chargers’ offense has not been all that reliable this year. In 2018, Philip Rivers was on the outside edges of the conversation for Most Valuable Player, but not this year. He did lead the game in passing with 211 yards against the Broncos, but he could not guide his team into the end zone, and those red zone turnovers eat away at a team’s confidence. Austin Ekeler has been solid in the running game, picking up 227 yards on the ground and also coming in second on the team with 356 receiving yards. Melvin Gordon is back after resolving a contract dispute, but he carried the ball 12 times for just 31 yards in the Denver loss. Pittsburgh could take advantage of some chaos in the Steeler system.
Why should you put your money on the Chargers?
The Chargers will likely have Devlin Hodges starting at quarterback for the opposition. He showed some athleticism against Baltimore, but it will be hard to argue that he has the talent to lead an NFL team for four quarters against a defense that can mount a pass rush like the Chargers have. There are also some intangibles to consider — heading into the bye week, the Steelers are already 1-4, and the postseason is looking less and less likely. The defense has had to carry the load almost exclusively so far this season, and you could argue that they will be looking ahead to a week off.
Even with Philip Rivers having an off season, the Steelers will still need to keep an eye on Keenan Allen. He has been targeted 53 times and caught 38 balls for 470 yards and three touchdowns. If he stays on this current pace, he would shatter his career records in all four of those categories. When the two teams played last December, Allen had 148 yards on 14 receptions, both season highs for him. If the Steelers do not key on Allen, this could turn into a long night.
Final Score Prediction
I was expecting the Chargers to pick up this year where they left off in 2018, but they have yet to catch fire. Even so, with Hodges starting for the Steelers, the Chargers should easily cover by a score of 27-16. If Rudolph gets cleared and can play, I think the game gets a lot closer.