While holdouts and injuries have played a key role, it is very surprising to see both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Los Angeles Chargers with losing records through five weeks. For Pittsburgh, the offseason departures of AB and Le’ Veon Bell would always be relevant, but having Ben Roethlisberger at QB still made them a playoff contender. He went down early, and Mason Rudolph took over. Rudolph is now out, and it is Devlin Hodges’ team now, and he’s hoping to bring the Steelers back from the abyss.
LA, on the other hand, went 2-2 in four games without Melvin Gordon, but that still doesn’t excuse the defeats. He came back last weekend, and the team fell victim to the previously 0-4 Broncos. With Oakland surprisingly at 3-2, LA has to get its act together if it has playoff dreams. The AFC is not as good as the NFC this year, and nine to 10 wins is going to get you a playoff spot. At worst, LA can go 7-3 over its final 10 games to get a playoff spot.
The spread for the Sunday night matchup favors the Chargers by six points, while the over/under is set at 41.5.
Can Pittsburgh Finally Get It Going?
As mentioned above, the 1-4 start is not what anybody saw coming, and it’s interesting to see because they have not finished under .500 since 2003, a year before Roethlisberger was drafted. Bill Cowher was the coach then, and that is the only time this entire century that they have been worse than 8-8. Since making it to the AFC Championship Game in 2016, the team has generally been regressing with playoff performance. Their 13-3 season in 2017 came to an end because they paid no mind or attention to the Jaguars until it was too late, and then they were done.
They will need their defense to stifle Philip Rivers as the Broncos did a week ago. Without Jaylen Samuels in their offensive backfield, there is added pressure on James Conner, who has not been playing up to his standards in 2019.
Chargers Looking To Bolt Up
At 2-3, this is the start we would have expected from this team a few years ago, but not in 2019, where they are fresh off a year where they finally won a playoff game. Rivers has been struggling, while the run game has been nearly nonexistent. All the backs they have used have failed to produce on the ground but have been terrific pass-catchers to this point in the year. They do not seem to be in a class with the Chiefs as they were last season, but there is still a lot of time left to right the ship.
They are missing Melvin Ingram on the defensive side of the ball, with Joey Bosa unable to apply extensive pressure without his running mate. Ideally, they’d like Hodges on the ground constantly and uncomfortable in the pocket.
Chargers Down The Steelers
A primetime showdown will prove to be a win for LA. Keenan Allen’s big bounceback will lift the team.
Free Play: LA -6
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