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Steelers-Chargers Sunday Night Matchup Smells of Playoffs

 

The 7-3-1 Pittsburgh Steelers host the 8-3 Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday night in a game that could be a preview of a postseason matchup. With an upset loss to Denver last week, the Steelers lost their grip on the AFC’s No. 2 seed in the playoffs. The Chargers have been chasing the Kansas City Chiefs (9-2) all season. L.A. will play the Chiefs once more this season at Arrowhead Stadium. Barring total collapses, both Pittsburgh and Los Angeles will be playing this postseason and could meet again.

 

Chargers-Steelers History

Pittsburgh owns the series with the Chargers winning 23 of 32 games. The Steelers have won four of the last five against the Chargers. The only loss, ironically, came at home at Heinz Field the site of Sunday night’s game. The two teams have not played since 2015. Pittsburgh recorded a 24-20 victory against the Chargers, who were still in San Diego at that point.

 

Loss To Denver

Pittsburgh had a six-game winning streak snapped last week in a 24-17 loss to Denver. The Steelers committed four turnovers, including QB Ben Roethlisberger’s interception in the final minutes of play. Ironically, the Chargers had a six-game win streak snapped the previous by the very same Broncos. Los Angeles rebounded last week with an easy 45-10 win over Arizona.

 

What to Watch

Roethlisberger threw for 462 yards and a touchdown last week. He is now second in the NFL in passing yards with 3,664. That marks six straight seasons in which Roethlisberger has thrown for 3,500 yards or more.

 

Roethlisberger’s counterpart, Chargers QB Philip Rivers, completed 25 straight passes in last week’s win over the Cardinals. He finished the game 28-of-29 with three touchdowns. His 96.6 completion percentage set an NFL record.

 

Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster had 13 catches last week for 189 yards including a 97-yard scoring reception. He leads the team with 77 receptions for a team-high 1,055 yards. Antonio Brown has 10 touchdown catches in his last 10 games. At home, Brown is even more dangerous. In the Steelers last 10 home games, Brown has 1,015 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns.

 

Chargers WR Keenan Allen has a touchdown reception in each of his last three games. In last week’s win over Arizona, Allen had seven catches for 72 yards and one score.

 

A big factor on Sunday night will be the matchup of running backs. The Chargers Melvin Gordon is listed as out and will not play. Pittsburgh’s James Conner is one of four players in the NFL with over 1,300 yards from scrimmage and 10 or more touchdowns.

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