San Diego Chargers (4-8 SU, 5-7 ATS) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5 SU, 5-6-1 ATS)
NFL Week 14
Date/Time: December 9, 2012. 1:00 p.m. EST.
Where: Heinz Field
by Wilson, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: SD +6/PIT -6
Over/Under Total: 44
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Pittsburgh Steelers fans are crossing their fingers for the potential return of QB Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben has been out of the lineup for three straight weeks in which the Steelers are 1-2. Charlie Batch would start again in the event Ben can’t go but the assumption is that Roethlisberger will be ready. The Steelers won four consecutive games before losing Big Ben and they have dropped 2 of 3 without their starting QB.
The San Diego Chargers on the other hand, come into Heinz Field losers of 5 out of their last 6 contests. The Chargers will not get any relief in Pittsburgh which is a difficult place to earn a road win. Pitt’s defense specializes in stuffing the run, and considering Charger’s RB Ryan Mathews had a season low 9 carries last week for just 26 yards against the Bengals the running game likely will be a moot point again this weekend. Add the presence of one Troy Polamalu to the Steelers defense and all bets are off on San Diego establishing any sort of running attack.
Welcome back one defensive stud and say goodbye to another is how Pittsburgh’s luck has been this season-Ike Taylor will be out for a few weeks because of right ankle fracture-this will be Taylors first non-start in 135 games. San Diego will certainly try to take advantage of Taylor’s absence. It won’t be surprising if Charger’s QB Philip Rivers looks down field more than often. Taylor’s replacement, Cortez Allen has proven to be a solid backup but look for the Chargers to pressure him anyways.
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Speaking of Rivers, he must step up this weekend and do a better job of reading the coverage as he has made some bad plays this season granted he’s not getting the protection he needs but even then his decision making has been questionable. It helps if your receivers can catch a ball and San Diego has trouble pulling in the rock. Rivers can real good but he can make mistakes too, which has cost the team some Wins.
The Steelers are 14-2 SU and 10-5-1 ATS over the last 16 home games; 8-1 SU and 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games versus San Diego. The Chargers have lost four straight games and are 1-3 ATS in through those games.
Defensively, the Chargers allow 92.2 yards per game on the ground while Pitt ranks 15th in rushing at home. Also, the Steelers are among the top of the league in rushing D and overall defense. San Diego’s lack of a running threat coupled with the recent poor play of Rivers and well, everyone on the offensive line, makes this game a no-brainer for the odds makers. Go Pitt baby!
I like the Steeler’s TE Heath Miller to step up like usual and make some game changers this week along with WR Wallace for a Steeler’s victory. Big Ben will likely be back, but if Batch has to go again the Steelers keep rolling into the playoff picture. Pitt’s pass rush will create havoc for Rivers and I predict a pick-6 for the Pittsburgh D. Take the Steelers to cover in this one. Luck to ya.
Wilson’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Steelers cover.
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