Steelers Need To Let Vick Loose In Showdown With Chargers On Monday Night Football
The Pittsburgh Steelers opted to play it safe with Michael Vick at quarterback in place of the injured Ben Roethlisberger against the Baltimore Ravens and they wound up getting burned in a 23-20 loss. A pair of missed field goals ended up being the major difference in that defeat but the reality is that the kicking game wouldn’t have played nearly as big of a role if the Steelers had been more aggressive from the outset. Vick isn’t the superstar he was earlier in his career but he has the potential to do more than he did last week against Baltimore if Pittsburgh decides to let him play to win rather than manage the game not to lose. The Steelers will be back in the spotlight against the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football and they might not have a choice but to let Vick loose against an opponent that is 2-0 at home.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ San Diego Chargers
Monday October 12, 2015 – 8:30 PM ET
NFL Betting Line: San Diego -3
It has been a tale of two different teams for a San Diego side that is 0-2 on the road but 2-0 at home this season. The Chargers have averaged 31.5 points per game at home compared to 16.5 points per game on the road and the bottom line is that when Phillip Rivers has time to throw the football he can pick opposing defenses apart. Rivers has thrown for 1,248 yards and eight touchdowns this season but he also has four interceptions and he has been sacked 12 times. San Diego needs more from rookie running back Melvin Gordon and veteran Danny Woodhead on the ground in order to take some of the pressure off of Rivers in the pocket and it will be interesting to see if they can get going against this Pittsburgh defense. The Steelers defense was gashed for 191 yards and a touchdown on the ground last week but they held Joe Flacco to 189 passing yards and they will try to do the same to Rivers. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh will have to take advantage of its star players and give Vick a chance to use both his arm and legs to win this game after playing it safe last week. Vick completed 19-of-26 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown last week and while he doesn’t have elite speed or great awareness he still has a big arm and enough juice to bring the ball down and run if he has to do it. Running back Le’Veon Bell ran for 129 yards and a touchdown with seven catches for 21 yards as well and if the Steelers can force San Diego to worry about Vick’s ability to run or stretch the field with his arm they will be that much more dangerous. Pittsburgh still has plenty of weapons including Bell, Antonio Brown and Heath Miller and they have to find a way to maximize their potential and not rely too much on a shaky special teams unit with the inexperienced Chris Boswell set to take over after Josh Scobee was cut this week. The Steelers have the potential to win this game straight up and at the very least we expect them to keep this contest close.
Pick: Pittsburgh +3
San Diego has the potential to score in bunches and after averaging more than 30.0 points per game over their first two home games there isn’t any reason to expect much of a letdown in primetime this week. The Chargers will score their fair share of point in this game so it will be up to Vick and the offense to put up better numbers than they did last week and find a way to win this game on the road. It will certainly help the Steelers if they can feel confident in their kicking game but look for them to try and take care of business on offense and not leave this game up to their special teams the way they did last week against Baltimore.