After a frustrating loss to the Denver Broncos last week, the Los Angeles Chargers destroyed the Arizona Cardinals at home in week 12. Los Angeles won dominantly, with a 45-10 final score. However, the Charges can’t celebrate much, as they go on the road to face the Steelers this week.
Pittsburgh will be motivated heading into this game, as they’ve misplayed in the past two weeks. A comeback win versus a Jacksonville team that has lost eight straight. Followed by a loss, to a Broncos team they’re better than. Returning home, off an injury, Pittsburg will give Los Angeles a considerable challenge in this matchup.
This game versus the Steelers will be the first time in a while, Los Angeles is tested versus a team that is a super contender. The last time they played a team of this caliber was the Rams back in week three.
Once again we will be privileged to watch the quarterback matchup of Phillip Rivers versus Ben Roethlisberger. The two quarterbacks have been compared to each other their entire careers since they were both apart of the 2004 draft class. Rivers will look to get a win in a matchup him and his team have been dominated in.
Pittsburgh vs. Los Angeles is the game of the week, and on Sunday night football this is a must-win for the Chargers.
AFC Home Field Advantage
Before the season, the AFC standings seemed predictable. The Patriots and Steelers would be at the top of the conference, with every other team trying to catch up. The top of the AFC this year is highly competitive. Currently, there are five teams who in week 13 still have a chance at the top seed in the AFC playoffs.
The Steelers, Patriots, Chiefs, Chargers, and Texans all have at least seven wins and no more than three losses. To still have a chance at home field advantage in the AFC playoffs the Chargers must win this game. Losing to the Steelers could be the difference from hosting a playoff game, or having to play every playoff game on the road.
The final stretch of the Chargers schedule is tough. Four of their last five games are games which Los Angeles could lose. They play the Chiefs, Ravens, Steelers, and Broncos in their final five. So, a win versus the Steelers could help build confidence for some of the games upcoming.
Keeping Pace with Kansas City
Despite a record of 8-3, the Chargers do not lead the AFC West. The current leader of the AFC West would be the Kansas City Chiefs. Since week one, when the Chargers loss to the Chiefs at home, they’ve been chasing Kansas City for the division lead.
Last week when the Chargers loss to the Broncos it hurt them. One because the Chiefs loss to the Rams and Los Angeles missed their chance to make up ground on the Chiefs. Also, Denver is a team Los Angeles is better than, and shouldn’t be losing to especially at home.
Also, now a victory in the week 15 matchup versus Kansas City, will no longer place the Chargers in sole possession of first place in the AFC West. Not to mention, Kansas City will most likely win versus Oakland this week, so a loss to Pittsburgh would put the Chargers two games back in the division with four games to play.
That week 15 matchup versus the Chiefs puts even more pressure on the Chargers to win this week versus Pittsburgh. Los Angeles hasn’t beaten Kansas City the last nine times they’ve played. Therefore, the Chargers need to win every other remaining game on their schedule, starting with Pittsburgh.
Possible Playoff Preview
This game is a potential playoff matchup in the wild card round. As of now, the Steelers would host the Chargers in four seed versus five seed wild-card matchup.
Here is a tweet showing the playoff matchups if the season ended today:
Playoff picture after #Week12.
— LastWordOnNFL (@LastWordOnNFL) November 27, 2018
This game versus Pittsburg, for the Chargers, is a prove it type of game. Los Angeles can prove they can go on the road and beat a super bowl caliber team. But also go on the road and win a game in the cold with inclement weather. That’s something the Chargers have struggled with in the past with teams like the Steelers, Chiefs, and Patriots.
“Guys played in cold weather, so I don’t think it’ll be too much of a difference, win or lose you won’t be able to blame It on how cold it is,” said Casey Hayward