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Keenan Allen
AP
NBC Sports Predictor

Sunday Night 7: Steelers at Chargers

by John Daigle
Updated On: October 10, 2019, 4:47 pm ET

Sunday Night 7 is back for Week 6 and for the first time all season, one lucky fan scored a perfect score of 70 points last week to take home the $50,000 first place prize all to herself! As always, the $100,000 weekly prize pool is entirely guaranteed, so you don’t even have to score 70 for a chance to take home a piece of the pie! Now on to this week’s riveting Sunday Night matchup between the Steelers and Chargers…

 

Editor's Note: “Sunday Night 7” is the newest free-to-play game on NBC Sports Predictor and features $2 MILLION in guaranteed cash prizes this season. Click here to play!

 

 

1. First Touchdown?
(Melvin Gordon, James Conner, Austin Ekeler, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Keenan Allen, Other Steelers Player, Other Chargers Player)

Not only did Gordon handle a whopping 12 of Los Angeles’ 15 carries upon returning to the field following his lengthy holdout in Week 5, he also sneakily saw six targets behind Ekeler’s 16 (!!!). The fact Gordon can notch this question in a variety of ways makes him the favorite to score first under the spotlight at home.

 

2. Philip Rivers: Passing Yards? Passing TD?
(Yds: <250, 250-299, 300+; TD: 0-1, 2, 3+)

Pittsburgh opened the season allowing consecutive 300-yard passing performances to Tom Brady (341) and Russell Wilson (300) but have yet to get punched for that mark since acquiring former first-round DB Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Dolphins. Chances are Rivers responds emphatically following a season-low 211 passing yards against the Broncos in Week 5, but 300-plus is a tough ask. Bank on him finishing with 250-299 through the air.

 

3. Most Rushing Yards in the Game?
(James Conner, Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler, Other Steelers Player, Other Chargers Player)

Whereas the Chargers now have two healthy backs soaking up carries between Gordon and Ekeler, Jaylen Samuels’ recent knee scope leaves the Steelers with only one primary runner in Conner. Rookie Benny Snell may be involved off the bench on a limited basis, but he’s no threat to Conner’s usage on the ground against a Chargers front-seven allowing 4.6 rushing YPA. Lean Conner if only for his solo duties among Pittsburgh’s backfield.

 

4. JuJu Smith-Schuster vs. Keenan Allen: More Receiving Yards? More Receiving Touchdowns?

It’s easy to project Allen with more receiving yards as he comes into this one with the third-most targets (53) among all skill players. As locked-in fantasy players are well aware, the Steelers have allowed the most PPR points to opposing slot wideouts, and that’s exactly where Allen has run over half his routes (52.2%) from on the year. Allen’s final touchdown count should also trump Smith-Schuster’s given the former’s league-high 14 targets inside the 20-yard line.

  

5. Longest Player (Rush or Rec) in the Game?
(Yds: <20, 20-34, 35-49, 50-69, 70+)

The Chargers have quietly allowed the fifth-most explosive plays (20-plus yards) through the air this year, teeing up any of Pittsburgh’s wideouts to break loose if targeted downfield. Third-round rookie Diontae Johnson has actually recorded catches of 43 and 17 yards in the past two weeks alone, making it plausible the Steelers find success on either a rush or catch in the 35-49 yard range.

 

6. Total Turnovers in the Game? 
(0-1, 2, 3, 4+)

The Steelers are currently tied with the Patriots for the most turnovers (12) created on defense, averaging just over two per game. Unfortunately, the ambiguity of undrafted rookie Devlin Hodges under center throws a wrench into any projections, so leveraging that volatility to the extreme one way or the other — either he uncannily takes care of the ball or doesn’t — is the optimal choice. I personally think four-plus is probable, if not likely.

 

7. Winner and Winning Margin
(PIT/LAC; 1-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-13, 14-16, 17+)

The Chargers are projected as seven-point home favorites for a reason. Now squaring off against a complete unknown at quarterback in an offense that ranks bottom-seven in both passing (1,068) and rushing yards (335) produced, Los Angeles would have to perform royally poor to not walk away as 7-9 point winners.