It's a potentially important game in terms of wild-card implications Monday night to close out Week 5 of the NFL season Let examine some game props for MNF for Steelers vs. Chargers.
Michael Vick 'Over/Under' 18.5 Completions, 202.5 Passing Yards, 1.5 TD Passes, .5 INTs, 36.5 Rush Yards
Vick makes his second start of the season for the injured Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers have to hope that a full week of reps with the first team will help because Vick wasn't very good in last Thursday's loss to Baltimore, hitting on just 19-for-26 for 124 yards. That's a ridiculous 4.77 yards per attempt. He also overthrew Antonio Brown on a crucial fourth down in overtime. Vick only threw one pass longer than 35 yards in the air last week -- and Brown botched it for a potential touchdown. “Having a week to practice is big,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “Last week on the short week on Thursday night ball, that usually changes your plan on how you practice. " Expect more deep throws in this one. He still has a powerful arm. Vick also gets an added target this week in big-play receiver Martavis Bryant, whose four-game suspension has ended. The Chargers entered Week 5 No. 10 in passing defense. Vick still has good wheels and rushed nine times for 33 yards last week.
NFL Free Picks: 'OVER' Completions and interceptions on NFL odds, 'under' the rest.
Philip Rivers O/U 23.5 Completions, 270.5 Passing Yards, 2 TD Passes, .5 INTs
Rivers is having a stellar season as he led the NFL in passing yards -- and completing 70.7 percent of his passes -- entering Week 5 and comes off an AFC Player of the Week performance last Sunday in a win over Cleveland (358 yards, three touchdowns). The Steelers like to blitz but that's playing right in Rivers' hands. Rivers is completing 74.4 percent of his passes and averaging 11 yards per pass attempt with three touchdowns against the blitz this season. Last Thursday against Baltimore, the Steelers blitzed often, which created big plays (five sacks, three turnovers) but left holes in the middle of the defense and the Ravens capitalized with a big rushing night. Rivers welcomes back his security blanket on Monday in future Hall of Fame tight end Antonio Gates, who comes off his own four-game suspension. Gates has 99 TD catches in his career, 72 from Rivers. That's the most in the NFL among active players for any QB and receiver/tight end. The record for TD catches overall by an NFL tight end is 111 by former Falcon and Chief Tony Gonzalez.
NFL Free Picks: 'OVER' all. Pittsburgh is No. 13 in pass defense.
|Steelers To Score First +115 (best line at BetOnline)
Chargers Score First -185 (market tie)
|Longest TD 43½ Ov -115 (best line Bookmaker)
Longest TD 44½ Un-115 (best at Bovada)
|Highest Score 1st Half +100 (best line at Bookmaker)
High Score 2H + OT -110 (best line at 5Dimes)
|1st Score TD -155 (best line at BetOnline)
FG or Safety +135 (best line at 5Dimes)
Antonio Gates O/U 4 Receptions, 45.5 Yards
Speaking of Gates, I'm guessing he's going to have a huge chip on his shoulder here as he claims whatever he tested positive for was an accident. Gates is 35 years old but was still very productive last year, catching 69 passes for 821 yards and 12 scores. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich said last week that while he has a certain “snap count” in mind, he also doesn't want Gates playing every snap. Ladarius Green was pretty solid in his place. But you can't teach the connection that Rivers and Gates have.
NFL Free Picks: 'OVER' both.
Le'Veon Bell O/U 88.5 Rushing Yards, 4.5 Receptions, 42.5 Receiving Yards, +225 To Score Steelers' First TD
If you play fantasy football, then Roethlisberger being hurt in some ways is the best thing that could have happened to Bell if he's on your team. Bell is now clearly the focal point of the offense and I expect a monster workload in this game. Bell carried 22 times for 129 yards and a score last week and also caught seven passes. If the Steelers don't trust Vick to thrown downfield much -- and they didn't against Baltimore -- then Bell is going to get a ton of dump-off passes. Essentially long handoffs. San Diego has struggled against the run, allowing 126.8 yards per game.
NFL Free Picks: 'OVER' both and yes on the touchdown.