The Los Angeles Chargers host the Pittsburgh Steelers tonight in a game that features a pair of teams that have been legitimate Super Bowl contenders in recent seasons. They might not be this year.
The Steelers have had more trouble this season than a dog catcher chasing a pit bull without a net. They have had to open a new can of quarterbacks seemingly on a weekly basis. When the Jacksonville Jaguars lost the starting quarterback they acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles to replace Blake Bortles, namely Nick Foles, in the first quarter of the opening game to an injury, the Steelers shipped Joshua Dobbs to Jacksonville for a fifth round draft choice in next year’s NFL draft.
It was a nice thing to do for Dobbs, who seemed to have potential while the Jaguars were in need of a new starter. But, a few days later, it was the Steelers in need of a capable backup quarterback when Ben Roethlisberger suffered an elbow injury that sidelines him for the season.
The Steelers wished they still had Dobbs as a backup, but were satisfied to give second-year pro Rudolph Mason an opportunity. That worked a little, but when Mason was injured in last week’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh was searching for a new face to put behind center.
They came up with Delvin Hodges, who has a name as familiar in the NFL as someone in the witness protection program.
Hodges was undrafted out of Samford, not Stanford, but Samford. He led a tying touchdown drive last week in his debut after Rudolph was knocked out of the game, and I really mean knocked out. While Rudolph lie motionless on the field, Hodges warmed up his arm in relief.
Okay, the Steelers are a mess, that is why they are the underdogs tonight in Los Angeles when they meet a Chargers team also having trouble stringing together wins.
While the Steelers are struggling this year, their 1-4 mark is only ahead of the 0-6 Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North Division, the Chargers also have a losing record and are buried in third place in the AFC West.
The Chargers dismal start is a bit more unexpected than the Steelers. Pittsburgh can at least blame their problems on injuries, while Los Angeles has no where to turn except themselves.
If this was a simple game to handicap, it would not be difficult to pick Philip Rivers to lead his team over a talent challenged Steelers team led by an undrafted quarterback.
So, easy, take the Chargers.
I’m not going to get off that point of view even though the point spread tells me not to risk money on tonight’s proposition.
The Chargers have spent most of the week favored by a touchdown, and currently are giving six points on the spread.
Shouldn’t they be favored by double digits over a talent challenged Steelers squad with an untested quarterback?
If they were, I’d lay the points. But, given they are not, I wonder what the books know that I don’t. I may find out tonight, but I’m not going to allow it to cost me money.