Tag Archives: San Diego Chargers

Mendenhall to start against Vikings

Rashard Mendenhall, the second year 1st round pick from Illinois is set to start against the undefeated Minnesota Vikings.  This is the first time in Mendenhall's career that he is set to start when both he and Parker are healthy.  According to head coach Mike Tomlin, Mendenhall has officially passed Willie Parker on the depth chart by indicating that Mendenahll has the "hot hand".

This has been an incredible turn of events for Mendenhall.  Less than a month ago, Tomlin didn't play Mendenhall one snap against the Cincinnati Bengals because he didn't feel comfortable that Mendenhall knew his assignments and lacked game time preparation throughout the week.  Now, Mendenhall has impressed coaches, teammates, and fans alike with his running style that's been averaging over 5 yards a carry.  Mendenhall has showed a great, and decisive burst through the hole, speed, hands (in the passing game), and the ability to break tackles.  He's been one of the pleasant surprises this year along with Mike Wallace.

Mendenhall will have a difficult task this week against a very strong Vikings defensive front.  Many critics of Mendenhall say that his success is due to the weak run defenses of the San Diego Chargers, Detroit Lions, and Cleveland Browns.   This week, Mendenhall has the opportunity to silence those critics.

Fantasy Focus: Steelers vs Chargers

This week kicks off another entry of our fantasy football prediction blog.  The Pittsburgh Steelers play at home for the first time since the NFL opener against the Tennessee Titans.  This is a must-win for the Steelers in order to keep up with the division leaders, Baltimore Ravens.  The Ravens are currently up 2 games on a struggling Steelers team and the Steelers are looking to rebound against a very talented San Diego team after losing two close games in which they should have won convincingly.  Here is a list of fantasy football matchups that you may want to consider:

Pittsburgh Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger - Big Ben is going to have to come through against San Diego's solid defensive front.  Even with the loss of Jamal Williams, the Chargers defense is loaded with playmakers.  However, Ben plays his best against good competition in prime time moments.  I expect more of the same from Big Ben.  Ben will put up 30 points on this

Mike Wallace

Mike Wallace

Chargers defense, at home, in primetime and display to the NFL why he is an elite quarterback in this league

Ben Roethlisberger Jersey and other Steelers Apparel

Mike Wallace - Wallace has been the only pleasant surprise for the Steelers this year.  He caught the most passes of any Steelers receiver last week totaling over 100 yards.  Wallace is a mismatch waiting to happen at the #3 spot.  He's got amazing speed and quickness and hasn't dropped a pass this season.  During the NFL draft, Wallace's stock fell because scouts said his hands were suspect at best.  I don't see that with this young kid, however I can't say the same for Limas Sweed.

Mike Wallce Jersey and other Steelers Apparel

Heath Miller - Miller is "Mr. Dependable".  He always seems to do his job and do it well.  He has great hands and is a good blocker.  He "seals the edge" when lined up as a tight end and does surprisingly well when lined up as a fullback.  Last week, he was dominant on the first couple of drives as a receiving tight end.  But for some reason, offensive coordinator, Bruce Arians stopped designing plays to go to Miller.

Arians has been heavily criticized by Steelers fans and rightfully so.  Why would he not get Miller more involved in

Heath Miller

Heath Miller

this offense?

Heath Miller Jersey and other Steelers Apparel

Rashard Mendenahll - This is a "dark horse" pick.  Per Mike Tomlin, Mendnenall didn't play one snap last week because he didn't feel comfortable that Mendenhall knew his assignments (i.e. he failed the weekly written game plan test).  We need Mendenhall to step up now and I think he'll show-off some of his talent this week (IF HE ACTUALLY RECEIVES PLAYING TIME).

Rashard Mendenhall Jersey and other Steelers Apparel

San Diego Chargers

Philip Rivers - Rivers was expected to be an MVP candidate this year.  He has loads of talent and is surrounded by talent. This could be a shootout-type game resulting in a classic Rivers vs Big Ben show down.  I expect both quarterbacks to put up good numbers this game.  With the Steelers pash rush less than desirable, Rivers could be in for a big game.

Antonio Gates -  Gates is in for a big game against this struggling defense.  With Polamalu out with an injury, the Steelers don't have a good solution for the All-Pro tight end.  Lawrence Timmons has the speed and athleticism to cover Gates but it will be a challenge as is for any linebacker in the NFL.

Darren Sproles - Sproles is the type of running back the Steelers always have trouble with.  He has great cutback ability (i.e. Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew) and has acceleration through the hole.  He's also difficult to find behind a massive San Diego offensive line at 5-8 185 pounds.  Sproles might be most dangerous as a kick-off returner.  The Steelers special teams and defense must stay in their lanes and play disciplined football or Sproles could take one to the house on any given play.

Discuss at the Planet Steelers Forum

Troy Polamalu – Questionable

It has been reported that starting strong safety, Troy Polamalu is questionable for Sunday's game against the San

Troy Polamalu

Troy Polamalu

Diego Chargers.  According to Polamalu, his knee feels "very good".

Buy Troy Polamalu Jersey

Without Polamalu, the Steelers defense played very vanilla and has been lacking big plays.  The Chargers game is a must-win for the Steelers and Polamalu is needed if he's healthy enough to play.  With Ladanian Tomlinson expected to play, Darren Sproles explosiveness, and the very dangerous tight end threat in Antonio Gates, the Chargers are loaded with offensive firepower.  The Steelers defense has been struggling especially late in games and welcoming Polamalu back to the lineup would be that much needed addition in turning things around.

O-line Final Challenge

The Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line has one more big challenge for the 2008-2009 NFL season.  And what a challenge it is, for the Pittsburgh Steelers 6th Super Bowl victory.  Truth be told, I think the Steelers offensive line issues have not received enough publicity this week. 

The NFL analysts have been more interested in Larry Fitzgerald and the Steelers defense more than anything else.  But the game could and probably will be decided up front on both sides of the ball.  The Steelers offensive line will have their hands full to say the least.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm are very familiar with the Steelers sub-par offensive line.  They know their strengths and weakness and you can expect that both have been relaying their knowledge to the defensive staff of the Arizona Cardinals. 

The Steelers have the advantage in run blocking against the Cardinals.  The Cardinals are an undersized front and are not nearly aggressive up-front as teams the Steelers are used too and have played against.  The New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers, New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, etc are all bigger and more aggressive defensive fronts that the Steelers have faced.  I would expect that the Steelers should be able to run on the Cardinals.  And make no mistake about it; we need Parker, Moore, and Russell to have a huge game which will in turn, open up the passing game. 

However, the Steelers have a disadvantage against the pass rushers of the Arizona Cardinals.  The Cardinals defensive front, while undersized, has very quick pass rushers coming off the corner.  This is by far the Steelers biggest weakness and could potentially win the game for the Arizona Cardinals and is a huge matchup for the Steelers.  Willie Colon will have his hands full and better not jump offsides to try to compensate for the speed rush.  Max Starks is the slowest footed left tackle in the league.  Ben Roethlisberger must get rid of the ball quickly, he must hit his quick hot reads, and must punish the Cardinals for sending blitzes his way (i.e. get the ball in Heath Miller’s and Mewelde Moore’s hands!)

While the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line has been better later in the season, they must put together a good performance Sunday in order for the Steelers to hoist their sixth Lombardi trophy. 

Dolphins or Chargers

Who would you rather face?

If the Miami Dolphins beat the Baltimore Ravens (Sunday @ 1pm est.)  then the Steelers automatically are matched against the Dolphins.  However, if the Baltimore Ravens beat the Dolphins then the Steelers will be matched up against the Chargers.

Both teams boast a strong 1-2 punch in their running attack.  Both are efficient through the air.  And both have defenses that are capable of making a push deeper in the playoffs.  Oh, and Miami has ex-Steelers Joey Porter who would love to punish his old team by wrecking havoc against Ben Roethlisberger by creating sacks and causing turnovers.  Oh, and did I mention that Joey Porter (19 sacks) will be matched up against inadequate Max Starks at left tackle?

Some very intriguing matchups.  Discuss in our Forum

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