NFL

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday Night Football Preview

Sunday, December 2 at 8:20 PM ET

Heinz Field

41°F

Partly cloudy

Winds from the WSW 7 mph

Gusts: 10 mph

Coverage: NBC

The Los Angeles Chargers face a big test when they visit the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, missing star running back Melvin Gordon.

There's no time for the Steelers to sit around feeling sorry for themselves after Sunday's disappointing 24-17 loss against the Broncos, they have to go back home and get ready for a Chargers team coming off a 45-10 blowout win over the Cardinals, their seventh victory in their last eight games.

The Steelers might have caught a break, as the Chargers will be without star running back Melvin Gordon, who will miss from one to three games with a knee injury. Gordon has 802 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 153 carries to go along with 44 receptions for 453 yards and four touchdowns and he's been a key part of the team's surprising success this season.

Austin Ekeler will have to step up for Melvin Gordon and he does have impressive numbers, with 409 rushing yards and one touchdown on 70 carries in five games, averaging 5.8 yards per carry while catching 32 passes and he can have success against against a Steelers front that has been leaky against the run over the last two weeks, allowing Leonard Fournette to finish with 95 rushing yards and one touchdown on 28 carries and Phillip Lindsay to rush for 110 yards and one touchdown on just 14 carries.

The absence of Gordon might require Philip Rivers to play a bigger role in the offense. Rivers was spectacular against the Cardinals last Sunday, when he set two NFL records, one for completing his first 25 passes and the other for the highest completion percentage in a game, going 28-for-29. The signal-caller ranks third in the league with a 115.7 passer rating and he has 3,119 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and six interceptions in 11 games, including his three touchdowns last week.

NFL Trends:

The Los Angeles Chargers are:

4-1 ATS in their last five road games

5-2 ATS in their last seven games overall

The Pittsburgh Steelers are:

1-4 ATS in their last five games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game

1-4 ATS in their last five home games against a team with a winning road record

1-5 ATS in their last six games in December

The Chargers have played well on the road this season, going 4-1 away from ROKiT Field at StubHub Center but they still have to prove they can win against the top teams in the NFL, as seven of their eight wins this season have been against teams with a losing record, except their 25-17 road win against the Seahawks on November 4, but Seattle is barely above .500 at 6-5.

I like the Chargers here, Ekeler can do some damage on the ground and if the game turns into a battle of the quarterbacks with Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers duking it out through the air, Rivers can keep up with Big Ben. I will also place a small bet on the Chargers +150 moneyline.

NFL Pick: Chargers +3.5 (-115) at Jazz Sports

Check odds here: http://bit.ly/2RMxhhA
 
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