Why Steelers could defeat the Chargers on Sunday Night Football
By Tommy Jaggi
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a difficult task this week, but here’s why they can defeat the Chargers in Los Angeles on Sunday Night Football.
The Week 11 outlook for Pittsburgh does not look promising. Pittsburgh’s quarterback situation has been a debacle since Ben Roethlisberger landed on the Reserve/COVID list last week, and injuries have once again started to mount up.
T.J. Watt has been nursing both a hip and a knee injury and has officially been ruled out for this contest. Likewise, offensive guard Kevin Dotson, cornerback Joe Haden, and defensive lineman Isaiahh Loudermilk will all be sidelined with injuries in Week 11 as well.
Even if the Steelers are missing a few key players for this contest, there is plenty of reason to believe that Pittsburgh could Los Angeles this week.
Steelers have been a better team than Chargers as of late
Historically under head coach Mike Tomlin, the Steelers haven’t been very good when traveling to the west coast. Like clockwork, you can count on Pittsburgh to put up a barn-burner against the inferior competition when traveling out west.
However, tying the Detroit Lions last week (the NFL’s worst team in terms of 2021 record) had to have been the kick in the pants this team needed to not underestimate their opponents moving forward — something many fans feel this team does too often.
While Pittsburgh’s current quarterback situation may not be ideal, the Chargers simply haven’t been very good recently. Despite having a very promising, young quarterback in Justin Herbert, Los Angeles has lost three of their last four contests — one of which was a 34-6 to the Baltimore Ravens. Their only win over this span was a narrow 27-24 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, who are now just 4-6 on the season.
In addition to faltering performances, the Chargers are just 25th in scoring defense this season — allowing their opponents to put up 25.3 points per game, according to Team Rankings. Considering that Joey Bosa, Jerry Tillary, and other members of their defensive line are on the Reserve/COVID list, this defense could get even worse. In addition, defensive tackle Linval Joseph is doubtful with a shoulder injury.
This matchup gets even more favorable for Pittsburgh when you consider that the Chargers are dead last in the league in rushing yards allowed, as they surrender 155.1 yards per game to their opponents on the ground. This feeds right into the game plan that the Steelers want to deploy with Najee Harris.
As Pittsburgh’s offensive line and running game continues to improve, the Chargers defense front will be significantly weakened and should be vulnerable with their losses in Week 11.
This game is by no means a lock for the Steelers. But despite Pittsburgh being underdogs in this contest, there is plenty of reason to believe that they could come away with a surprise victory in Week 11, considering all of the factors that will come into play for this contest.