Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Los Angeles Chargers Pick 10/13/19
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4 SU, 3-2 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (2-3 SU, 1-3-1 ATS)
Date/Time: Sunday, October 13, 8:20 PM EST
Where: Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, Ca
Point Spread: Pitt +6.5 / LAC -6.5 (WagerWeb)
Over/Under Total: 41
The City of Angels will be the site for the week 6 Sunday finale, with the Steelers paying a visit to the Chargers. Sportsbooks have made the Chargers 6½ point favorites, and the play is to take the points with Steelers. Here is the handicap.
The Steeler Defense Is the Best Unit on the Field
The Steeler defense opened the season looking like a rusted out Chevy than a Steel Curtain, but have righted the ship over the last two games. After getting toasted by the Patriots, Seahawks, and 49ers, Pittsburgh’s stop unit looked like the unit we expected against the Bengals in week four and then the Ravens last week. The Steelers held the Ravens to only 277 total yards, which was the Ravens season-low by 118 yards. They sacked Lamar Jackson 5 times and intercepted 3 of his passes. Pittsburgh’s defense has nine first-round picks in the starting lineup, so there will be a lot of talent staring down Phillip Rivers. The Ravens came into the game last week, averaging over 200 rushing yards per game, and the Steelers limited them to only 139 yards. The Pittsburgh Defense also realizes the fate of their team is in their hands. The offense can be counted on for 14 to 20 points per game, so the defense has no margin for error.
Fortunately for Pittsburgh, the Charger offense is pretty dysfunctional this year. They have only scored more than 20 points against the Dolphins in week four and the Colts in week 1. Denver held them to only 13 points and 246 yards of total offense last week. Though the Broncos didn’t sack QB Philip Rivers, they pressured him and had him throwing check downs all day. They also intercepted Rivers twice on the day. The Chargers have been short-handed on offense all year, with tackle Russell Okung on IR, Hunter Henry hurt, and Melvin Gordon holding out until last week. This week center Mike Pouncy was put on IR with a neck injury. Gordon couldn’t get going against the Broncos, and shouldn’t have any better results this week against a Steeler defense that is better than Denver’s. I expect the Steeler pass rush not to allow Rivers time to work down the field to Keenan Allen and Mike Williams and be able to hold LA’s run game in check. LA coach Anthony Lynn will play conservative, so I look for the Chargers to max out at 20 points and probably stay below that. The question is, can the Steelers offense get to 14 or more points.
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Mason Rudolph or Devlin Hodges – Does It Matter?
After Big Ben Roethlisberger went to the sideline in week 2, there was some hope in Steeler Land that Mason Rudolph could step in and guide the Steelers to some wins. It didn’t look good at first. Rudolph was afraid to throw the ball downfield in his first start but did show some improvement against a weak Bengal squad in week 4. Things were going pretty well last week against Baltimore until Earl Thomas knocked him out and in stepped “undrafted rookie” Devlin Hodges. Rudolph is in the concussion protocol but has a chance to get on the field against the Chargers. I’m not sure it matters. Offensive Coordinator Randy Fichtner will make a run heavy, milk the clock gameplan to minimize the potential for either of these QBs to make mistakes. Rudolph has proven he can manage a game and win if all of the other pieces do their part. Hodges is a complete unknown, but he looked like he was comfortable in the game, and may be a better passing option than Rudolph. In either case, it will be a big dose of James Conner, who has been playing better after a slow start. LA gave up 191 rushing yards to the Broncos last week, and the Steelers definitely have a better offensive line and running game than the Broncos, so Pittsburgh should be able to move the chains.
The Charger defense has been a disappointment early this season. They are 23rd in the league allowing 6.0 yards per play, and more troubling they are middle of the pack with only 12 sacks. LA was expected to have an elite pass rush coming into the year. After five weeks, Joey Bosa has three sacks, but his partner Melvin Ingram only has 1, so the Chargers have been forced to blitz to get pressure. Opponents are converting 46% of third downs against the chargers and scoring touchdowns on 66% of their red zone trips. Pittsburgh’s offense should be able to score 14 or more points against this Charger defense, and if they can catch a break and get a long TD or maybe a defensive score, they can get in the 20s.
The Chargers Are Who We Thought They Were
Coming into the year, there was some hope that Anthony Lynn and the Chargers had turned the corner and were ready to make a run at a Super Bowl. But five weeks in, it is apparent that these are the same old Chargers, and Lynn is still one of the weakest coaches in the league. LA has turned the ball over eight times already, including three times last week against the Broncos. Pittsburgh’s defense has 12 takeaways, so look for the Chargers to struggle to take care of the ball. LA has only covered one spread this year, so they are disappointing their backers. Last week they not only didn’t cover against a winless Bronco team, but they also lost the game outright. The Chargers are still that team that finds a way to lose games, or not cover a 6½ point spread.
Take the Steelers and the Points
The pick on Sunday Night this week is to take the 6.5 points and ride with the dogs. Pittsburgh should be able to keep thiso game close and cover the spread. If the Chargers do their thing, Pittsburgh could win. Bet the Steelers/Bolts game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% bonus up to $1000 at an online bookie where credit cards work for depositing —> MyBookie!
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