NFL Picks & Preview: Another QB Takes Over Steelers’ Offense
The Pittsburgh Steelers have experienced more than their share of misfortune this season. But unlike a lot of other organizations that might wallow around in it, these guts are doing whatever they can to make the most of the situation. After all, there is an AFC North division title to be won, and no team has put in a solid claim on it.
Mason Rudolph had taken charge in place of Ben Roethlisberger, who had to have elbow surgery. But during Sunday’s game against Baltimore, which Pittsburgh lost 26-23, Rudolph was knocked out the game with a concussion. So Devlin Hodges had to come in and finish the game.
Late Friday afternoon, Rudolph was ruled out of Sunday night’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers. That means Hodges will get the start. So we’ll see him at 4:25 PM ET at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, CA. Since it’s Sunday night, it is televised of course by NBC. And BetAnySports customers have the opportunity to place wagers while they are actually watching the game, courtesy of Live Betting Ultra. And beforehand, they get to utilize reduced juice to give them better odds that the -110 they’d usually have to lay.
Chargers vs. Steelers NFL Week 6 Odds by BetAnySports.eu
|Steelers||+6 (-110)||42 (-113)||+230|
|Chargers||-6 (-110)||42 (-107)||-280|
About Mr. Hodges
As last week’s game against the Ravens was tied in regulation and went into overtime, Hodges really had a baptism under fire. He completed seven of nine passes for 68 yards. But what was really kind of impressive was that he wasn’t AT ALL intimidated. In fact, he looked like he had been in that spot all season.
Of course, this may change. But the fact is, he was a tremendously productive quarterback in college. That was at the FCS (Division 1-AA) level, mind you. But with more than 14,000 yards, he did set the career yardage mark for FCS passers, while at Samford.
Interestingly enough, Hodges wasn’t on the roster at the end of training camp. He was a victim of the numbers game. After Big Ben, they were not going to cut Rudolph, or for that matter Joshua Dobbs, who had both been selected with high draft picks. So he was the odd man out. But when Rudolph had won the backup job, they traded Dobbs, and later added Hodges to the practice squad. After Roethlisberger’s injury, he became the backup. Not Paxton Lynch, a former first-round pick, is the backup to HIM.
There’s a blow to Pittsburgh’s offense….
One of the things head coach Mike Tomlin and offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner did to mix things up and make things easier for Rudolph was to do some wildcat formations and plays with Jaylen Samuels. But the backup RB is out for up to a month with a knee injury. So the improvisation will have to be elsewhere.
Samuels was referred to as a “Swiss Army Knife,” in the sense that he was doing a lot of things. That included catching passes. The Steelers offense didn’t function all that well when his action was limited.
Chargers -- Who’s In? Who’s Out?
It might be one of those deals where you’re working up till game time trying to figure out who isn’t going to play for Anthony Lynn’s team. We know that Melvin Gordon’s “in.” But it may take a while for him to make major contributions. Derwin James has been out. Adrian Phillips is out. Russell Okung is out. And so is Mike Pouncey. So that’s two starting O-linemen.
Melvin Ingram may or may not play. The same goes for tight end Hunter Henry. Wide receiver Dontrelle Inman may not be available. Kicker Michael Badgley was listed as doubtful on Friday afternoon, which leaves Chase McLaughlin in there again.
So what will happen?
Pittsburgh’s defense has really performed well. And they are going to get a rush together (19 sacks) that could make Philip Rivers nervous. Yeah, L.A. has underachieved on the offensive side. And we’re not sure if they can do anything, other than get healthier.
The Steelers won’t sputter because of Hodges. But they may sputter because they don’t have enough around him. They have covered seven of their last eight as a dog, so taking the points is worth looking into, but the under might be somewhat attractive for us right now.
And speaking of something that’s “attractive”….
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