The odds will really be stacked against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday when they travel to the Steel City and take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. As if it isn’t enough that the Bolts are stuck in the final month of a miserable 4-8 season, there are plenty of additional reasons to doubt the team’s chances in week 14.
For starters, the much anticipated return of Ben Roethlisberger to the field has been announced and it will be as the starter on Sunday against San Diego. Big Ben makes the Steelers’ offense so much more dynamic and just his presence will lift all of the players on their roster. The confidence boost that he provides mentally will only be topped by what his arm and legs do on Sunday as the Chargers have a long history of struggling against mobile signal callers. If Roethlisberger gets outside of the pocket and extends plays on Sunday, it will likely spell doom for the Bolts.
Another element against the Chargers is their own issue with injuries coming into this contest. Their offensive is in complete disarray with RT Jeromey Clary suffering a knee injury, LG Tyronne Green dealing with a hamstring problem, fill-in LT Mike Harris hampered by a bad ankle, and backup center playing guard David Molk out with a thumb injury. None of these guys will play on Sunday and the Bolts will turn to two players they cut earlier in the year in C Colin Baxter and OG/OT Steve Schilling. It could get ugly for quarterback Philip Rivers against a ferocious Steelers defense.
Perhaps the final nail in the Chargers’ coffin is their daunting history playing on the road in Pittsburgh as the Bolts are 0-14 all-time during the regular season in western Pennsylvania. A team from southern California traveling to a cold weather city playing outdoors in December is not a promising scenario and the Bolts will have to overcome tons of adversity this Sunday.
This season certainly hasn’t gone as planned for the Chargers organization and Sunday’s game will just be a microcosm of how the circumstances seemed to pile up against the Bolts all year long. If the odds win out and the Chargers do fail to win this week, at least they will be one loss closer to having a top ten draft pick in April.
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