Pittsburgh Steelers vs Oakland Raiders: Who Has The Advantage?
Steelers vs Raiders: Who Has the Advantage?
This coming Sunday, a rematch from last year’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders will take place. In 2012, these two teams faced off in a back-and-forth high-scoring battle, which resulted in the Raiders winning by the score of 34-31.
Both the Steelers and the Raiders are 2-4 and are at the bottom of their respective divisions, so this victory is much needed for Pittsburgh and Oakland. The Steelers are riding the momentum of a two-game winning streak, while the Raiders spent their bye week licking the wounds from their defeat against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs.
On paper, this game appears to be a close one. Both teams have defenses that are ranked in the top half of the NFL, while their offenses are still trying to find their true identities.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be looking for another big game like he had last year against this team. In addition, Pittsburgh will be hoping for a much better performance from what they got from their ground attack last season. Rookie running back Le’Veon Bell should have a big hand in that.
As for the Raiders, the same can’t be said about their quarterback situation. Last season, Oakland had Carson Palmer under center, but now they will be hoping for a big game from quarterback Terrelle Pryor. The third-year pro will give Pittsburgh’s defense headaches with his athletic ability in the open field.
With both teams desperately needing this victory, this game will definitely be a must-watch. Seeing who will come out on top isn’t an easy task. In order to figure that out, we’ll have to take a deeper look.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+
Steelers' Pass Offense vs Raiders' Pass Defense
Roethlisberger hasn’t had a turnover in the past two games, and coincidently, the Steelers won those two games. The quarterbacks Oakland has faced this season have a combined QB rating of 98.6.
Steelers' Run Offense vs Raiders' Run Defense
The Raiders’ front seven has done a good job in containing the run. Oakland is tied for ninth in run defense, surrendering and average of 99.0 yards per game. Bell has given Pittsburgh’s running game a boost, and with the implementation of the Wildcat formation, the Steelers’ ground attack just might cause some confusion among Oakland’s defense.
Raiders' Pass Offense vs Steelers' Pass Defense
Oakland’s offensive line has surrendered the second most sacks in the league with 27. To make matters worse for the Raiders’ passing game, Pittsburgh’s fourth-ranked pass defense will smother their receivers in addition to their pass rush creating havoc in the backfield.
Raiders' Run Offense vs Steelers' Run Defense
Although they have improved since the start of the season, Pittsburgh’s run defense is still a work in progress. Oakland is ninth in the league in rushing, and their dual-threat quarterback will make it more difficult for the Steelers to stop the run.
Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski has the strongest leg among kickers in the league, but his four missed field goals this season are very uncharacteristic of the 14-year veteran. On the other hand, Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham is 14-for-14 on the year, and has scored 48 percent of Pittsburgh’s points this season.
After starting the season on a four-game skid, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin finally has his team headed in the right direction. Even though their record doesn’t indicate it, Tomlin currently has the Steelers looking like one of the best teams in the AFC North, and should continue to do so this week.
It would appear that the Raiders will have the advantage since they had an extra week to prepare for this game. However, the Steelers seem to be too much of a threat in all phases of this game for Oakland to overcome.
Prediction: Steelers 27, Raiders 17