The Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3-1) host the Los Angeles Chargers (8-3) on Sunday Night Football this weekend in an all-AFC showdown. Kickoff is set for 8:30 PM EST on December 2nd at Heinz Field and the game will be broadcast on NBC.
Oddsmakers opened this game up with the Steelers listed as 3.5-point road favorites. That line hasn’t moved at all after early betting, as Pittsburgh is currently available at -3.5. The total for this matchup is 52 points. Click here for a full look at the Week 13 NFL odds and for more links to our individual game previews.
Steelers vs Chargers Vegas Odds & Game Preview
Los Angeles crushed Arizona 45-10 at home last weekend to improve to 8-3 on the season overall. The Chargers actually trailed 10-0 at the end of the first quarter before scoring 28 unanswered points before halftime. RB Melvin Gordon III had been listed as questionable prior to kickoff, but he ended up suiting up despite not practicing for much of the week. While he did manage to score two touchdowns, Gordon III was forced to leave in the second half and has already been ruled out for Week 13. However, QB Philip Rivers does have excellent chemistry with RB Austin Ekeler, who will likely see his usual pass-catching role expanded against the Steelers with Gordon inactive. Rivers has been fantastic this season, completing 69.5% of his passes for 3,119 yards and 26 touchdowns. He has also thrown two or more touchdown passes in 12 consecutive games. The receiving duo of Keenan Allen and Tyrell Williams have also been big contributors on offense, combining for 1,367 yards and nine touchdowns. Overall, Los Angeles is currently averaging 27.9 points per game (7th overall) on 402.0 yards of total offense.
The Chargers have been excellent defensively through their first eleven games, giving up an average of just 19.9 points per game (4th overall) on 334.8 yards of total offense. They have been especially strong against the pass, allowing only 227.3 yards per game through the air (7th overall).
Pittsburgh dropped to 7-3-1 on the season last weekend after a disappointing 24-17 loss on the road in Denver. The Steelers were just a couple of yards away from the end zone with two minutes left in the 4th quarter but couldn’t find a way to punch it in, as Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception on a critical 3rd and goal. It was certainly puzzling to see Pittsburgh abandon the run on the 2.5 yard line, as they had three chances to hand the ball off to RB James Conner. Conner has looked fantastic filling in for Le’Veon Bell, racking up 894 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Roethlisberger has also had a solid year, throwing for 3,664 yards and 24 touchdowns. He has really been clicking with both Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster as of late. as the pair have combined for 1,929 yards and 15 touchdowns in just 11 games. As a whole, the offense is currently averaging 28.7 points per game (6th overall) on 420.8 total yards.
The Steelers have been slightly above average on the other side of the ball so far this season, surrendering 22.6 points per game to opponents (12th overall) on 325.1 yards of total offense. However, they have been quite solid against the pass, giving up an average of only 223.3 yards per game through the air (6th overall).
Free NFL Betting Prediction: Steelers -3.5
This is shaping up to be one of the most entertaining games on the schedule here in Week 13, as both of these teams have been enjoying impressive seasons so far. While this matchup could easily go either way, there are a couple of factors that have me leaning towards Pittsburgh in this particular spot. While Austin Ekeler is still a solid running back, there is no doubt that Los Angeles will greatly miss Melvin Gordon III on Sunday night. He has been one of the most dynamic offensive players in the entire NFL through the first 12 weeks of the season. The other thing that the Steelers have going for them is their unique ability to bounce back immediately following a loss – they are a perfect 6-0 ATS in their last six games after a defeat.
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Pittsburgh is also a very solid 3-1-1 ATS in their last five games against opponents from the AFC and 5-1-1 ATS over their last seven games overall. The Chargers are only 2-7 ATS in their last nine games in the month of December and 2-6 ATS over their last eight games following an ATS win.
While all of those trends are certainly important to keep in mind, the following statistic really jumped off the page at me : Los Angeles is just 2-5 ATS in their last seven trips to Heinz Field and only 3-8 ATS over their last 11 meetings with Pittsburgh overall. I’m not going to pick against a Steelers team that will be hungry to avenge a bad loss last Sunday. I’ll lay the 3.5 points and take a stab with the home favorite, give me Pittsburgh to cover the spread.