LA Chargers at PIT Steelers: Predictions, Odds and Betting Tips
Sunday 12/2 8:20 PM (ET),
Two of the AFC’s best face off in a Sunday night matchup, as they both try to stake their claims for home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Chargers have won seven of their last eight games, and with the Chiefs coming off a loss, and dealing with Kareem Hunt drama, this is perfect time to announce themselves as the best team in the AFC West. It may be more difficult than they would have liked to hope, as Melvin Gordon, the leagues 6th leading rusher, will miss the game with a sprained MCL. While this is a big blow, the Bolts should be in good hands with multi purpose stud Austin Ekeler, as well as Justin Jackson. Jackson came on in relief of Gordon a week ago, and showed an impressive burst through the hole, averaging over eight yards a carry.
The Steelers amassed 52 points in week ten, but ever since then they have struggled with punching the ball into the endzone. Last week this finally came back to bite them, and they lost to a less talented Denver team. As playoff time rolls around, I wonder if Pittsburgh fans will start to miss having Le’Veon Bell in the backfield. While, James Conner has impressed this year, he has cooled down in recent weeks, totalling just 78 yards on the ground in his past two games. Conner also committed a costly fumble a week ago, which helped Denver pull away.
This is the game where the nation, and Californians for that matter (as no one attends Chargers games), gets to see the true contenders that the Chargers are. Joey Bosa returned to action two weeks ago, and is coming off a two-sack performance in his last game. Bosa will team up with Melvin Ingram, Casey Hayward, and Desmond Kings (one of PFF top ranked corners) to help facilitate the struggles of the Pittsburgh offense. On top of that, Philip Rivers is playing the best football of his career, currently holding career bests in passer rating with 115.7, and completion percentage with nearly 70%. So while Melvin Gordon is a major loss in the Bolts backfield, they are still the more talented roster, and more inclined to put it all together on the field come Sunday night.
Score prediction: Chargers win 30-24
The Chargers have been nearly perfect for eight consecutive weeks now. The Steelers have struggled to accumulate points in the past two weeks. Los Angeles’ 8th ranked defense will stick it to Big Ben and company, and Philip Rivers will continue his stellar play on the offensive end.
While the Bolts may not put up 45 points like they did a week ago, I expect Los Angeles to come out and impress from the first whistle till the end of regulation. The loss of Gordon will not be as big of a deal as fantasy owners want you to believe. Austin Ekeler is coming off a ten-reception game, and Justin Jackson ran for nearly 60 yards on just seven carries. The Chargers will move the ball just fine come Sunday night.
Head to Head
Pittsburgh holds a commanding lead over the LA Chargers in their past ten matchups. The Steelers have captured eight victories, compared to just two for Los Angeles. These two have not faced off since the 2015 season.
- Los Angeles is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games.
- Los Angeles is 5-1 SU in their last 6 road games.
- The total has gone UNDER in in 8 of Los Angeles’ last 11 road games.
- Pittsburgh is 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games.
- Pittsburgh is 13-5 SU in their last 18 home games.
- The total has gone OVER in 4 of Pittsburgh’s last 5 games when playing Los Angeles at home.