The Pittsburgh Steelers travel to the West Coast Sunday night to take on the Los Angeles Chargers as 5-point road dogs.
Big Ben is a go, but can he get this offense going versus the league’s worst rushing defense? Find out in our Week 11 Sunday Night Football props and predictions.
Steelers vs Chargers prop picks
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
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Steelers vs Chargers SNF props
As we mentioned in our Week 11 prop article, the Steelers have been getting gashed on the ground of late — they just let D’Andre Swift run for 130 yards and Detroit total 229 rushing yards. Pittsburgh gave up seven (!) runs of 10-plus yards in that meeting and is giving up a league-worst 153 rushing yards per game over its last three.
They’re banged up defensively and will be without some key members of the defense, including T.J. Watt, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Joe Haden.
We’re on the Austin Ekeler Over 58.5 rushing yards and believe this is one of the better prop bets on the board for high-end players. Ekeler has 39 of the team’s 56 RB rushes since Week 8 and 71 percent of the snap share. His production in the passing game has been light of late, with just 38 receiving yards over his last two games, so that has us shying away from his total yards prop of 98.5. Pittsburgh is also one of the better teams at suppressing RB receiving yards, at 33 per game.
In a play that we don’t recommend, but is interesting nonetheless, an SGP of Ekeler Uver 58.5 rushing but Under 98.5 total yards pays +850.
It’s just the Over 58.5 yards for us, as other books have started to move north of this number.
PICK: Austin Ekeler Over 58.5 rushing yards (-115 at bet365)
Don’t Be Like Mike
Chargers receiver Mike Williams has topped 35 yards just once over his last four games. A knee injury has been bothering the towering pass-catcher, though his coach is insisting hasn’t been the problem. We may not agree, as Williams had 471 yards in his first five games, hurt his knee, and now has just 10 grabs for 137 over his last four.
Plenty think Big Mike will get his mojo back this Sunday night, as the Steelers are missing key pieces of the secondary, but Fitzpatrick is a poorly-graded safety in coverage and is much better vs. the run while Haden is playing at a league-average rate this season and is Pro Football Focus’ No. 40 CB in coverage this season. Starting CB James Pierce is a Top-25 corner at his position. The Steelers’ pass defense sits in the Top 10 in success rate and EPA/play. It's also held its opponents to 188 passing yards per game over the last three.
Williams' receiving total sits at 54.5 yards, which is in line with his Week 9 total versus the Eagles. The receiver has just 0.15 targets per route run over the last four games, which ranks sixth on the team. We’re fading Mike on Sunday night.
PICK: Mike Williams Under 54.5 yards (-110 at bet365)
All Shall Harris
The Chargers defensive line has taken a hit this week. Joey Bosa (COVID close contact) is questionable and depth linemen Christian Covington and Jerry Tillery are likely out. Additionally, linebacker Drue Tranquill, who ranks as the team’s best LB per PFF, is also out. Tranquill had been playing heavy snaps and graded positively in coverage and in the pass rush. This is bad news for a defense that was already getting killed on the ground and now will likely see a heavy dose of Najee Harris.
The Steelers might not be anywhere near the best rushing teams in the league, but Mike Tomlin will be damned if he doesn’t run Najee Harris at least 20 times a game for 3.7 yards a pop.
Pittsburgh averages 66 plays per game and is running the ball 33 times a game over the last three. Harris averages 19.56 carries per game, which ranks as the third-highest mark in the league, while the Chargers allow a league-high 32.3 rushes per game. Harris has used that volume to rush for 80-plus yards in four of his last five games, and with the Chargers giving up 128 rushing per game to opposing RBs — the most in the league — Harris has a great chance of topping 80.5 yards, even with Ben getting back under center.
Harris’ rushing total was 92.5 yards last week versus the Lions and 81.5 against a much better Chicago rush defense two games ago. Pittsburgh will never abandon the run, which makes this a play that will have plenty of chances to cash.
PICK: Najee Harris Over 80.5 rushing yards (-110 at bet365)