The Steelers will be trying to avoid their first three-game losing streak since weeks the 2006 season when they host the San Diego Chargers on Sunday night. The Chargers have never won in 13 regular-season matchups in Pittsburgh, and they lost 35-24 at Heinz Field in the divisional round of last season\’s playoffs.
On offense, the Steelers will look to run on the Chargers 26th rated run defense that has given up an average of 142.3 yards per game. To do so, they will have to turn to second year running backs Rashard Mendenhall and veteran running back Mewelde Moore with starter Willie Parker sidelined Sunday night with a turf toe injury. In addition to Mendenhall and Moore, rookie Isaac Redman has been promoted from the practice squad to possibly lend a hand in short yardage and goalline situations. Also added to the roster this week was fullback Carey Davis.
The Steelers passing game is 1st in the league in completion percentage with 71.6% passes completed and will choose it\’s spots against the Chargers 8th rated pass defense that has given up the big play this season. Wide receiver Santonio Holmes looks to rebound from his 1 catch performance versus the Bengals, while rookie Mike Wallace looks to expand on his break out 7 catch, 102 yard game last Sunday. The Steelers will look to lull the defense asleep by running effectively.
On defense, the Steelers must get pressure on Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and force him into bad decisions or take a sack. Running back LaDainian Tomlinson looks to return from a two game absence and improve the Chargers 31st ranked rushing offense that is averaging just 2.8 yards are carry. Also important are wide receiver Vincent Jackson and tight end Antonio Gates. Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor will draw Jackson in coverage, while Gates will likely see a defensive back on passing downs.
In closing, the Steelers will finally take out their frustrations on the Chargers at home and show that the Super Bowl hangover is over. They will not miss the services of Parker and should have this game well in hand by the 4th quarter. That\’s right folks, Steelers blowout the Chargers at home.
Prediction: Steelers 31 Chargers 13