In order to get a grasp on this primetime matchup, we’ve enlisted the help of those who know these teams the best. Expert NFL bloggers Kevin Grauel of San Diego blog Bolts From the Blue and Jeff Hartman of Pittsburgh blog Behind the Steel Curtain strap on the pads and debate which team will not only win, but cover the spread Monday night.
WHY THE STEELERS WILL COVER
Jeff Hartman is the editor of Behind the Steel Curtain. You can follow them on Facebook and on Twitter @btsteelcurtain.
Steelers’ dynamic offense powered by Le’Veon Bell
There isn’t an offensive player more dynamic in the NFL than Le’Veon Bell. When you think you have him bottled up in the running game, he is capable of being another wide receiver to produce matchup issues for the opposition. Bell going against a safety or linebacker is a mismatch in the Steelers’ favor. Put a cornerback on Bell, and it means there is one less cornerback covering Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton or Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Michael Vick has a chance to get comfortable
When the Steelers lost a heart breaker to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4 at Heinz Field, new quarterback Michael Vick had exactly three days, and one walk through, to get acclimated as the team’s starting quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger’s absence. Despite a very small playbook, Vick nearly led the team to victory, but the Steelers now had plenty of time to prepare for their next opponent. After a Thursday night game a team receives almost an abbreviated bye week, but throw in the Steelers next game being on a Monday night and the break is even longer.
Steelers’ defense is above-par
The Steelers defense has taken a hit across the NFL landscape in recent years, but they are an improved unit which is getting after opposing quarterbacks. Through four weeks of action, the Steelers have 14 sacks (4th in the league) and despite some mediocre averages, are playing a very positive brand of football.
WHY THE CHARGERS WILL COVER
Kevin Grauel is a contributor for Bolts From the Blue. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter @BFTB_Chargers.
No Big Ben
Ben Roethlisberger is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Michael Vick is not. The Steelers’ offense is built to thrive with Roethlisberger calling the shots, so the Bolts should be able to force enough mistakes from Vick to sneak out a win.
Philip Rivers lit up the Browns last week, despite being down to two wide receivers and missing three starting O-lineman. With Antonio Gates returning from suspension and Malcolm Floyd returning to practice, San Diego might be in better shape on Monday night.
Nothing too crazy here, but the Chargers have looked much more comfortable at home than on the road this season. They have scored 63 points at home compared to 33 on the road in the same number of games. With the potential to fall under .500 with a trip to Green Bay next week, the Chargers find a way to pull it off.
Join the debate. Who covers the spread on Monday night: Steelers or Chargers?