Sunday Night Football features a clash between two teams, each trying to make a push to the playoffs when ThePittsburgh Steelers(5-3-1) travel to meet theLos Angeles Chargers(5-4) at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:20 p.m. ET.
The Steelers played the Lions to a tie last week and have struggled against winning teams – can they keep the playoff hopes alive by beating the Chargers?The Steelers were without starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger because of his landing on the reserve/covid list late in the week and could be without him again this week.
Instead of "Big-Ben," QBMason Rudolphled the team, and the Steelers played the woeful Lions to a 16-16 tie. Although Ben is not nearly as effective QB as he once was, he is still miles ahead of Rudolph in terms of ability. To make matters worse,Pittsburgh Steelers'starting free safetyMinkah Fitzpatrick has tested positive for COVID-19 and could also miss the game. (edit: Roethlisberger is expected to play).
This is terrible news for a Steelers defense dealing with injuries to outside linebackerT.J. Wattand cornerbackJoe Haden. Watt is dealing with knee and hip injuries sustained during the third quarter of Sunday's game. Haden left Sunday's game due to a foot injury. Defensive ends Tyson Alualu, and Stephon Tuitt are both gone for the season as well. On the offensive side of the ball, the receiving corps is damaged goods with Juju Smith-Schuster definitely out and Chase Claypool questionable. Thankfully rookie and emerging star running back Najee Harris is healthy as he has been a bright spot and has led a resurgent Pittsburgh running game. The Steelers opened the season with a quality win against the Bills but have struggled against good teams the rest of this season. The rest of their wins have come against even or underwater teams in terms of wins and losses on the year. The Steelers defense ranks just inside the top 10 and only gives up an average of twenty points per game. However, the Steelers offense ranks 26th in the league and scores about 20 points per game. The Steelers are more reliant on the pass than the rush. This shows in the Red Zone, where they rank 20th in the league, with teams scoring 58.3% of the time.
The Chargers were a hot ticket and had a lot of buzz coming into the season but have so far disappointed.Last week, the Chargers dropped a winnable game against the Vikings, and two weeks before that, they dropped a game to the Patriots. In between, they beat the poor Eagles squad. Like the Steelers, the teams that the chargers have beaten are around 500 on the season or below. Also, eerily similar to the Steelers, the chargers have covid issues with key players.
According to NFL.Com, "The Los Angeles Chargers have placed outside linebackerJoey Bosaand defensive linemanJerry Tilleryon the reserve/COVID-19 list, per the transaction wire. Bosa and Tillery's status for the Chargers' Week 11 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night is now in doubt." The Chargers' offense has been hampered due to inconsistent play from the offensive line that was supposed to be a strength of the team. The Chargers might have one the best-left side blocking combos in the NFL with left tackle Rashawn Slater and left guard Matt Feiler. However, two backup linemen are filling in for injured starters Oday Aboushi and Bryan Bulaga, on the right side, and are struggling. The Chargers have two-star receivers in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, a good running back in Austin Ekeler, and some solid options at tight end. It is hard for QB Justin Herbert to use those weapons when he is constantly under immense pressure.
The Chargers are middle of the NFL pack on offense and score about 25 points per contest. Like many NFL teams, the passing output of 282 yards per game vastly outpaces the run at 100 yards per game. The Chargers scoring defense ranks 25th in the league and gives up around 25 points to the opposition on average. The defense is excellent against the pass but is ranked dead last against the running game allowing 155 yards per game, and is terrible in the red zone allowing scores around 64% of the time, good for the 20th ranked RZ defense in the NFL.
- Chargers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games following an ATS loss.
- Chargers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games following a straight-up loss.
- Pittsburgh has covered three times in nine matchups with a spread this year.