The Steelers and Chargers close out Week 5 of the NFL card as both teams have started at 2-2, but each club has taken a different path to a similar record. Pittsburgh plays with at least 10 days of rest for the second time this season, losing both Thursday games at New England and Baltimore, but winning both Sunday contests against San Francisco and St. Louis. Now, the Steelers venture to the West Coast for the first time this season, looking to erase the bitter taste of last Thursday’s overtime loss to their hated rival.
Playing without star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger following his knee injury in Week 3, the Steelers turned to veteran Mike Vick to keep the train on the tracks for the next month until Big Ben returns. However, Pittsburgh couldn’t hold onto a 20-7 lead against rival Baltimore in Week 3, eventually losing in overtime, 23-20. What hurt even more than the loss to the dreaded Ravens was how they lost, missing two field goals in the fourth quarter, while failing to convert a pair of fourth downs in Baltimore territory in overtime.
The passing game of Pittsburgh took a hit with Roethlisberger out, as Vick threw for only 124 yards, while top receiver Antonio Brown was held to below 100 yards for the first time this season by racking up just 42 yards. Le’Veon Bell broke the 100-yards mark for the first time since his two-game suspension, rushing for 129 yards and a touchdown, but didn’t have critical carries in overtime as the Steelers fell to 0-2 in primetime games this season.
The Chargers haven’t been razor-sharp yet in any of their four games, losing at Cincinnati and Minnesota on the road, while holding off the Lions and Browns in two home victories. In last Sunday’s narrow 30-27 win over Cleveland, Mike McCoy’s club put up at least 400 yards at home for the second time this season, but needed a 34-yard field goal from Josh Lambo in the final seconds. San Diego failed to cover for the third straight week, while needing to rally from a 21-3 deficit in the season opener against Detroit to cash as three-point favorites in a 33-28 triumph.
San Diego and Pittsburgh are hooking up for the first time since 2012, as the Lightning Bolts escaped Heinz Field with a 34-24 victory as seven-point road underdogs. The Chargers built a 34-10 advantage before a couple of mop-up touchdowns by the Steelers made the final score more respectable. Philip Rivers tossed three touchdown passes in the win to snap a three-game losing streak to Pittsburgh that dated back to 2008. Pittsburgh is making its first trip to Qualcomm Stadium since 2006 (also a night game) as the Steelers lost 23-13 as 3 ½-point underdogs.
From a totals standpoint, the Chargers haven’t had a problem scoring at home, finishing ‘over’ the total in both contests at Qualcomm Stadium. The Steelers have played to a pair of ‘unders’ away from Heinz Field, which includes a 12-6 victory at St. Louis in Week 3, the game in which Roethlisberger suffered a knee injury. Since the start of 2014, Pittsburgh is 7-3 to the ‘under’ on the highway, while making its first trip to the West Coast since 2013 in a 21-18 loss at Oakland (which went ‘under’ 40).
Our prediction :