It’s a battle of the 2004 draft class this weekend as Ben Roethlisberger takes on draftmate Phillip Rivers once again. It is also a battle of AFC giants as Roethlisberger leads the 7-3-1 Steelers and Rivers leads the 8-3 Chargers. The big showdown will be broadcasted on Sunday Night Football and here are all the numbers you will need to know heading into tomorrow night’s game.
2 – The Chargers are 8-3 this season and all of their three losses have a very similar pattern. They have turned the ball over twice in all three of those losses. With these six turnovers, the opposing team has scored 21 points off the turnovers committed by the Chargers. The Steelers have struggled with forcing turnovers this season, with just three over the last four weeks. Their six interceptions rank 24th in the NFL. The formula for success is there for the taking as the Steelers may need to force a few turnovers to stop the Chargers’ red-hot offense.
6.5 – The Steelers could be in trouble with their pass rush this Sunday as it was revealed that Bud Dupree is dealing with a torn pectoral muscle. Whether Dupree suits up or not, you have to assume he will be less than 100-percent. Should he be limited or not play, the Steelers will turn to Anthony Chickillo in his place. Chickillo has just six and a half sacks in 49 career games, giving him a sack every seven a half games. His pass rush skills are average at best and that should worry the Steelers. Whether it is Dupree or Chickillo, the Steelers are going to need to design some creative blitzes to cause pressure.
87.4 – Currently flying under the radar is just how good the Chargers’ pass defense has been this season. While their offense is getting all the attention, the Chargers’ pass defense has played a big hand in their current standing. Limiting opposing quarterbacks to just an 87.4 passer rating, good for 7th in the NFL, the Chargers have not made it easy for opposing quarterbacks. Their 11 interceptions rank 6th in the NFL and their 227.3 passing yards allowed per game is good for 8th in the NFL. Sunday will be another big test for Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
113.5 – Chargers’ quarterback Phillip Rivers has been untouchable this season as he is enjoying a career year at age 36. It has been hard to find a flaw in Rivers’ game as the quarterback has shown poise to succeed in any situation. Whether leading, trailing or tied, Rivers has a posted a passer rating of 113.5 or higher in each situation. When the Chargers are tied or trailing, Rivers has thrown 15 touchdowns to just three interceptions while completing 68.3-percent of his passes. The Chargers are never out of a game with Rivers under center and the Steelers will need to develop a plan to limit his firepower.
151.5 – Without Stephon Tuitt over the last two weeks, the Steelers’ have given up 303 yards rushing, an average of 151.5 rushing yards per game. In the four games prior, with Tuitt on the field, the Steelers gave up only 292 rushing yards, good for just 73 rushing yards per game. Thankfully for the Steelers, Tuitt will be returning to the field this weekend and will be the boost the Steelers’ defense needs.