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Week 6 – What to Watch for Against the Los Angeles Chargers

By Matt Papiernik, @Matt_Papiernik on Twitter
SteelerNation.com

 

As the Pittsburgh Steelers head out into their sixth game of the regular season, there are several things to watch out for. If the Steelers are able to right the ship this week and some pieces fall their way around the league, they are still very much in the hunt for the division title.

 

What Will Devlin Hodges Be Expected To Do?

Last week, Mason Rudolph was forced from the game after being knocked unconscious after a hit to the head while attempting a pass downfield. Luckily, it appears Rudolph is okay and going to be back in a week or two, but that means Devlin Hodges is going to get a shot to show what he can do. In relief of Rudolph last week, Hodges performed rather well as he lead the Steelers on two scoring drives in the fourth quarter. This week, Hodges will be tasked with playing all four quarters, and hopefully the offensive playbook will be wide open for him. Sitting at 1-4, the Steelers can’t afford to keep playing a conservative game like they did in Rudolph’s early starts. They need to trust Hodges and let him go win the game for him. Now, this doesn’t mean have him throw the ball 45 times, but they can’t have him consistently dumping the ball off underneath. I don’t think the offense will miss much of a beat with Hodges in there, as he has proven he is confident on the big stage, how much he is asked to do though by the coaching staff is yet to be seen.

 

Can Artie Fill the Void?

As of me writing this, it appears Steven Nelson is going to miss this week’s matchup. Since it is likely he won’t be playing, Artie Burns is going to get another opportunity to prove himself against an offense that has a lot of weapons. To this point in his career, Burns has been very inconsistent with his play on the field, and he has been deemed a “bust” by most. Burns has had his bright spots when playing man-to-man coverage, however he has been susceptible to double moves and has appeared to have mixed up his coverage responsibilities on too many occasions to count. Burns hasn’t played a lot on defense to this point this season, but he has made an impact on special teams and his body language throughout the game is much improved to years past. If Burns can keep his assignments straight, I believe he can excel this week and give the Steelers the key fill-in they need while Nelson heals up.

 

No More Linebackers on Wide Receivers!

Last season the Steelers lost to the Los Angeles Chargers, and one of the most frustrating things for people to watch about that game was the Chargers constantly getting their wide receivers (mainly Keenan Allen) matched up with the Steelers linebackers. This was especially key on a third down late in the game where the Chargers got Allen matched up with Jon Bostic, who was easily beat on a simple out route that resulted in a first down. Even though the Steelers have more athletic linebackers this season, it still will end very badly if any of them are matched up with Allen in man coverage. The Steelers have been able to do a better job of getting their matchups improved this season where they don’t have their linebackers put in bad spots, but against a team that made it painfully obvious how easy it was to do last year, it will be put to the test if the changes made were truly a success.

 

Comment below and let me know what you will be looking for as the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday Night Football!

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