Big Dog Pick of the Week
The atrocious Jon Gruden led Oakland Raiders (2 - 10) play host to the somewhat rejuvenated (unraveled last week at home versus the Chargers, and suffered a loss in Denver the week prior) Pittsburgh Steelers (7 - 4 - 1) this afternoon at 4:25pm ET.
For me, personally, the Steelers are one of those teams that always provide a losing result no matter what side I am on. That being stated, I am going to go against the grain anyway, and take the Oakland Raiders to defeat Pittsburgh outright in a monster upset.
The Raiders are averaging 100+ yards per game this season, and in their two wins, ran the ball for 139 & 152 yards. Every other game this season, with the exception of last week (170 yards), they had rushed for 100+ yards four times, and less than 5 times, in their 10 losses.
The Steelers win ball games with the obvious; Big Ben is able to command the offense by utilizing his superior outside weapons, and mixing in James Conner on the ground, and through the air. Tough luck for Pittsburgh here. They did not sign Leveon Bell, and Conner went down with an ankle injury that will prevent him from playing in this game. This will prove to have a huge impact in this game IMO.
In addition, Pittsburgh has held opponents to less than 100 yards rushing in 7 games this season, and are 6 - 1 when doing so. When the Steelers have allowed 100+ yards on the ground, they lost two of three, including last week's devastating loss to the Chargers.
The one statistical advantage the Raiders have in this contest is the fact they average 100+ yards rushing per game, and the Steelers are not... and potentially worse with James Conner not on the roster.
Say what you want about Gruden, but no one can deny he is one of the most competitive people in the NFL. There is reason to expect he will be energized at home against a conference rival that has deep historical significance. Although history does not matter for the most part, especially when removed further and further away in standards of time, but these teams have only met 3 times in history in Oakland and the Steelers were the favorite:
- October 29, 2006 - Steelers -9 and Raiders win 20 - 13
- September 23, 2012 - Steelers -4 and Raiders win 34 - 31
- October 27, 2013 - Steelers -2.5 and Raiders win 21 - 18
The Raiders are a huge money line dog, and if they can control the clock, generate 100+ yards on the ground, be equal to the task of turnovers & discipline, then they will keep this game close enough to cover the 10.5 points. All the aforementioned being equal, and the Raiders are able to manage 130+ yards on the ground, IMO, they can win this game outright. I think Gruden is aware of this, and this is what he has game planned for this contest.
PREDICTION: Take the Oakland Raiders ML +415
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Oakland Raiders 26
Good luck everyone!
Edited 12/9/18 at 11:37AM by Timothy Wynn - spelling, grammar, format