Pittsburgh (2-2) at San Diego (2-2)
When: Monday, October 12th 2015
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
Time: 8:30 ET
TV: ESPN Radio: XM 226, 225, 88
Both the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Diego Chargers need a win tonight or one of them will fall three games behind their respective division leaders, who are Cincinnati and Denver at 5-0. This will be Michael Vick’s second start in place of injured Ben Roethlisberger for the Steelers. Vick threw for only 124 yards in Pittsburgh’s 23-20 loss to Baltimore last Thursday night. The Steelers led that game by 13 points in the 4th quarter before collapsing. Vick should be more comfortable with the offense the second time around, plus the Steelers will have had 10 rest since the Baltimore loss. The running game will once again need to step it up. Le’Veon Bell, who missed the first two games due to suspension, has reeled off 191 yards rushing and another 91 receiving in his last two games. DeAngelo Williams, who ran for 205 yards in Bell’s absence, has only 7 carries in the last two games, but will be ready if needed. One player most impacted by Roethlisberger’s absence is wide receiver Antonio Brown, who led the league in passing yards last season but saw his NFL record streak of 35 consecutive games with at least 5 catches and 50 yards come to an end. Martavis Bryant, who had eight TD receptions last season, returns from a four-game suspension. The Steelers defense is 7th in the league allowing only 18.8 points a game.
The Chargers come into this game with the 3rd best offense and 2nd best passing attack in the NFL led by Philip Rivers. He has 1,249 passing yards and 8 touchdowns so far, but has also thrown 4 interceptions. He’s completing a career high 70.9% of his passes. The Chargers will get Pro-Bowl TE Antonio Gates back tonight after he served a 4-game suspension. That’s significant, because WR Stevie Johnson is out with a hamstring injury and Malcom Floyd is questionable with concussion like symptoms. The lack of a running game is a little concerning as they are ranked 20th in the NFL with 101.8 yards rushing a game. Rookie running back Melvin Gordon is only averaging about 13 touches a game and has yet to break the 100 yard mark. San Diego might have a hard time stopping Bell as they allow 126.8 yards a game rushing, which ranks 28th.
The Steelers defense will key on Rivers and the passing game and I think they will have some success slowing him down due to the injuries at wide receiver. I like the fact that Pittsburgh will probably run the ball a lot more with Vick at QB. Bell is one of the best in the league and the Chargers have a hard time stopping the run. I like the Steelers outright.
Pick: Steelers +3.5