Behind Enemy Lines: San Diego Chargers
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Steelers vs San Diego Chargers, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA, Sunday 1:00 p.m. CBS
Spread:Steelers (-7), O/U 43
All-time regular season series: The Steelers lead the all-time series 21-6, and have never lost to the Chargers at home in a regular season game, going 14-0.
Last Meeting: October 4 2009, in Pittsburgh, won by the Steelers 38-28.
PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) — The San Diego Chargers have only one win since September and have not beaten a team other than Kansas City since week two of the season. The Chargers have lost their last four games and seven of theirs last eight games, they have also lost their last four road games.
San Diego has already played the rest of the AFC North and have an 0-3 record against them, including their last two games, losing at home to Baltimore and Cincinnati. For all of those reasons and more, Head Coach Norv Turner finds his sheet to be incredibly warm as of later.
The Steelers are coming off a road win in Baltimore. Pittsburgh has also already played their three other AFC West opponents, going 1-2 in those three games. The Steelers start the final quarter of the season with three of their last four games on their own home field, beginning Sunday against the Chargers.
Offensive Player to Watch: Philip Rivers, Quarterback
Rivers has never really lived up to his draft day expectations. In the same draft class as Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Mannings, he is the only of the three to not win play in a Super Bowl. Not only have the other played in a Super Bowl, they have each won two. Rivers was the 4th overall pick in the draft, selected seven picks ahead of Roethlisberger.
Rivers has been terrible this season, throwing 15 interceptions to go along with his 11 fumbles. He still has the ability to play in the league, but the team around him is just not that good, and it is hurting Rivers and his performance on the field.
Defensive Player to Watch: Shaun Phillips, Linebacker
Phillips has seven sacks on the season to lead the Chargers, which has already doubled his output from last season. In his 9th season in the league, the Pennsylvania native is having one of his better years despite facing double teams and chipping running backs all season. Phillips could create some match-up issues if the Steelers are still dealing with the patchwork offensive line they started last week.
Strengths: Run Defense
The Chargers rank 6th in the league stopping the run, allowing under a hundred yards per game. The Steelers have had a difficult time running the ball, so this could be a very important match-up to keep an eye on, even more so if Charlie Batch is under center on Sunday.
Weaknesses: Finishing games
San Diego has held halftime leads in all but one of the teams losses this season and they have given up a 4th quarter lead in five of their games. The team has been outscored 39-12 during the 4th quarter of their current four-game losing streak.
He Said It:
“I don’t know if it’s so much coming east. I think it’s the Pittsburgh Steelers. I know there are some numbers there that support West Coast teams coming east, but it’s not that we’ve been great everywhere but Pittsburgh. I think that would be not giving credit where it’s due. You’re playing a football team, not the time zone or the weather. They’re a heck of a team and that’s really the biggest challenge..” – Philip Rivers, regarding the travel and early start time on Sunday