Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, October 11, 2015 at 3:00 PM
Both the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Diego Chargers have legitimate playoff hopes in the 2015 season. But, both know that’s difficult to rise to greatness from a 2-3 start! Both are 2-2 heading into their Monday night meeting on ESPN. The winner can start thinking Wildcard at the very least. The loser will find themselves in what’s shaping up as a crowded pack of AFC also-rans.
Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats say about the matchup.
Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
Pittsburgh: 2-2 (#11 schedule according to Sagarin)
San Diego: 2-2 (#16 schedule according to Sagarin)
Things will be a little tricky here because Pittsburgh was playing like a division winner with Ben Roethlisberger (hanging with New England, routing San Francisco, then leading early on the road at St. Louis), but then lost their offense when Michael Vick had to replace him (no ball movement while holding on to a win over the Rams, and only a couple of decent plays in what became an OT loss to Baltimore). San Diego is shaping up as .500 caliber. Pittsburgh might be an 11-5 type team with Big Ben…but more like 6-10 with Vick!
Pittsburgh: 6.0 on offense, 5.2 on defense
San Diego: 6.3 on offense, 6.1 on defense
San Diego’s defense has been a disappointment, which means Philip Rivers has to keep trying to outscore what his defense is allowing. You can make that work for a Wildcard in this league, but not much more than that. Pittsburgh has been playing playoff caliber defense thus far. But, the team could only manage 4.2 yards-per-play on offense in that Baltimore game. Plus, they were only 2 of 13 on third downs! If Pittsburgh can only register in the 4’s with Vick…they’re going to be in big trouble his week and all the way until Roethlisberger returns.
San Diego: -2
At least Vick played relatively clean football last week…meaning that Pittsburgh would rather punt than have him throw the ball to the wrong team. That gives them a chance to win low scoring grinders. San Diego’s need to chase what their defense allows is likely to keep leading to turnover issues. So…that’s probably a huge issue in handicapping this game. Can Pittsburgh grind clock and put some points on the board relatively safely against that soft San Diego defense? Can Rivers avoid turnovers if he doesn’t fall behind? The scoreboard could swing wildly in either direction depending on who controls the flow in the first half.
Pittsburgh: 3-0-1 ATS
San Diego: 1-3 ATS
Pittsburgh was one of the most underrated teams in the NFL coming out of the gate. You’ll recall that St. Louis was a popular bet against them…and Pittsburgh covered despite losing their star quarterback. The overtime loss to Baltimore was just a market push. It would have been a win and a cover if the Steelers had an accurate field goal kicker! San Diego’s only cover came in the season opener vs. Detroit (33-28 while laying a field goal). How would “Pittsburgh with Vick” stack up against Detroit? Will we see that kind of game again?
Current Line: San Diego by 3.5, total of 45.5
The market has to try to split the difference between the wild possibilities. This could be a shootout because San Diego plays shootouts. But, Pittsburgh will do whatever it can to shorten the game to try to steal a wrestling match as they wait for Big Ben to get healthy. Tricky challenge for handicappers and bettors!
JIM HURLEY knows that Monday nights are the most important betting night of the week in Las Vegas. He’ll leave no stone unturned in making sure his clients make the smartest choice on the side or total. You can purchase the final word for MNF right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours Monday. Don’t forget to check on combination packages that include the rest of the baseball playoffs.
Back with you soon to start a new week of football action. Our next report will cover the Thursday game in the NFC South. Then we’ll be talking about some high energy spread offenses in both college and pro action right after that…
Midweek: NFL TV Preview…Atlanta at New Orleans
Friday-Saturday: College Football TV Preview…Alabama at Texas A&M
Sunday: NFL TV Preview…New England at Indianapolis
Monday: NFL TV Preview…NY Giants at Philadelphia
Nothing’s more fun than watching yourself win on TV. Let’s do it again Monday Night and all through the season with PROVEN WINNER and WORLD HANDICAPPING CHAMPION JIM HURLEY!
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