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When and where: December 9, 2018, Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA, 4:25 PM ET
The Pittsburgh Steelers will try to overcome back-to-back losses on Sunday when they travel to California to take on the Oakland Raiders. A fourth-quarter meltdown cost the Steelers against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 13. They are hopeful that a favorable matchup against the Raiders can help them get back on the winning track and keep their bid for a first-round bye in the playoffs alive. The Raiders are coming off consecutive losses to the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens.
Steelers still aiming for a first-round bye in the playoffs
The road to a first-round bye in the playoffs got even harder for the Steelers after their 33-30 loss at home last Sunday night against the Chargers. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger continued to turn the football over, and the Steelers were outscored in the fourth quarter again in a game that dropped them to a projected fourth seed in the playoffs.
After being held to only 15 points through three quarters, the Chargers exploded in the fourth with 18 points, culminating into a game-winning 29-yard field goal kick off the foot of Michael Badgley.
Roethlisberger finished the game with 281 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception. However, the biggest concern for the Steelers is running back James Conner, who exited the game early with an ankle injury. He has already been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Raiders.
Our running backs give their thoughts on Sunday's game vs. the Raiders. pic.twitter.com/hSQMQHc0iz
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 6, 2018
The Steelers face long odds of snagging one of the top two AFC seeds, especially with the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints coming up on the schedule. They might have to win out to even have a shot at a first-round bye.
Raiders offense shows life
Who would have thought the Raiders would have a legitimate shot of knocking off the Chiefs?
That’s exactly what happened last Sunday as Raiders quarterback Derek Carr turned back the clock to 2016 and gave the AFC’s top-seeded team all they could handle. He threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns, finishing with a 123.2 passer rating.
— Oakland Raiders (@Raiders) December 5, 2018
Granted, the Chiefs have proven exploitable on the defensive side of the ball, but that won’t quell the confidence taken away by a two-win Raiders team given virtually little chance of even competing. If not for three turnovers, they might have actually pulled off an upset. They were instead left with should haves, could haves and would haves in a 40-33 loss at home.
Tight end Jared Cook had a team-high 100 receiving yards and one touchdown, while wideout Jordy Nelson led all receivers with 10 receptions and 97 yards. Jalen Richard and Doug Martin continued to carry the load in the backfield. Martin had the brunt of the carries with 18 runs for 61 yards and one touchdown, and Richard finished with six carries for 95 yards.
- Raiders are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games played on grass
- Raiders are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game
- Raiders are 4-17 ATS in their last 21 games in Week 14
- Raiders are 4-9-2 ATS against teams with a winning record
- Steelers are 25-10-2 ATS in their last 37 games after allowing more than 30 points in their previous game
- Steelers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games after a straight up loss
- Steelers are 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 games
- Steelers are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 road games
Updated on Dec 9 at 3:40am EST
Update prepared by our editoral staff
Public Money / Line Movements
No Weather Issues Are Expected
Pittsburgh’s Impact Injury Report
RB James Conner (909 Yards, 12 TDs) is Out.
Oakland’s Impact Injury Report
DT Maurice Hurst (25 Tackles, Four Sacks), OT Kelechi Osemele (Nine Starts) and DB Daryl Worley (29 Tackles) are all questionable.
Injury / Weather Report
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Steelers aren’t dropping three consecutive losses, especially when the third game is against the Raiders. Coach Jon Gruden already had his bite at the upset apple against the Chiefs, but that opportunity eluded him as most expected. The upcoming game against the Steelers won’t bear any more fruit for a bad Raiders team that somehow managed to play their best game of the season.
Desperation mode kicks in now for a Steelers team equipped with enough offensive weapons to put the Raiders to bed by halftime. The absence of Conner will be a problem down the line, particularly if he sits against the Patriots and Saints, but the Steelers should be absolutely fine with a backfield of Jaylen Samuels and Stevan Ridley against the Raiders 31st-ranked rushing defense.
If the Raiders defense thought Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce were a problem, let’s see how they feel about Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Vance McDonald. Roethlisberger will stretch the backend of that defense until it snaps in what now stands as a pivotal game for the Steelers.
Prediction: Pittsburgh Steelers ()
Full-Game Total Pick
The over is 13-4 in the Steelers’ last 17 games played on grass and 5-2 in the Raiders’ last seven against AFC opponents. It’s no surprise the Steelers offense is capable of reaching juggernaut status on any given Sunday. A trip to Oakland represents the perfect moment for one of those games. The Raiders defense is 31st in the league in points allowed and 28th in yards. Take the over in this game.
Prediction: Over (51.5)