This is the Steel City Blitz Three-Point Stance. Your quick-hitting reference guide to everything you need to know about the Chargers and Broncos in their week 13 match-up. It is sponsored by Nail the Number: The Fight Against Cancer.
What: Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4-1) at Oakland Raiders (2-10)
Where: Oakland-Alamedia Coliseum, Oakland, CA
When: 425pm ET Sunday December 9th, 2018
Weather: 55 degrees and partly cloudy
Line: Steelers -10
Last Week: The Raiders dropped a 40-33 home contest to the Chiefs. The Steelers also lost at home but to the Los Angeles Chargers 33-30.
TV: FOX Thom Brennamen, Chris Spielman and Shannon Spake on the sidelines.
TV Coverage in Your Area: Click the506.com to see if the Steelers are on in your area.
Radio: Steelers Nation Radio/WDVE Bill Hillgrove, Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley on the sidelines.
Head Official: Ron Torbert
Key Injuries: PIT: RBJames Conner (Ankle) – Out, S Morgan Burnett (Back) – Questionable, LB Anthony Chickillo (Ankle) – Questionable, OT Marcus Gilbert (Knee) – Out OAK: DT Maurice Hurst (Ankle) – Questionable, RB Doug Martin (Knee) – Questionable, OL Kelechi Osemele (Toe) – Questionable, WR Seth Roberts (Concussion) – Questionable
2018 NFL Ranks:
Total Offense: PIT 4th OAK 22nd Passing Offense: PIT 2nd, OAK 15th Rushing Offense: PIT 29th, OAK 22nd
Total Defense: PIT 7th, OAK 28th Passing Defense: PIT 8th, OAK 14th Rushing Defense: PIT 8th, OAK 31st
AFC North Rankings: Pittsburgh 7-4-1 Baltimore 7-5, Cincinnati 5-7, Cleveland 4-7-1
This Week in the AFC North: Baltimore at Kansas City 1pm, Panthers at Browns 405pm, Bengals at Chargers 425pm
What You Need to Know: The Steelers are 7-2-1 this season when they score 20 points or more… Pittsburgh currently leads the NFL in Red Zone Touchdown percentage with 77.8%… Ben Roethlisberger is the only QB in football to throw for at least 250 yards and one touchdown in every game this season… Big Ben is now seventh all-time in career touchdown passes with 355… Chris Boswell now ranks 10th all-time in scoring in team history with 420 points.
What’s at Stake: For the Raiders? Pride. For Pittsburgh, they must win in order to assure their half-game lead over the Ravens. A win is also necessary to keep any hopes of a first round bye alive as well.
All-Time Series: Raiders lead 12-10 and lead 7-4 at home in OAK/LA/OAK
Series Highs: PASSING: Steelers Ben Roethlisberger 384 yards 9/23/2012, Raiders Rich Gannon 403 yards 9/15/2002 RUSHING: Steelers DeAngelo Williams 170 yards 11/8/2015, Raiders Darren McFadden 113 yards 9/23/2012 RECEIVING: Steelers Antonio Brown 284 yards 11/8/2015, Raiders Mervyn Fernandez 130 yards 9/23/1990
Last (Regular Season) Meeting: Nov 8th, 2015 in Pittsburgh. Steelers 38 Raiders 35
Three Things We Need to See for a Steelers’ Victory:
Take Care of the Little Things. Great teams don’t make the kinds of mistakes the Steelers have in recent weeks. Persistent special teams penalties, red zone turnovers and blown assignments will not allow the Steelers to find success. These types of things have haunted the Steelers in recent visits to Oakland. Missed field goals and missed tackles have also played part in their dubious record in Northern California. If they clean those things up they should be fine.
Don’t Abandon the Run. Just because James Conner isn’t playing doesn’t mean that Randy Fichtner should stick with his recent trend of being so pass heavy. The Raiders are near the bottom of the league in stopping the run and Jaylen Samuels and Stevan Ridley are more than capable of being successful. I am not suggesting the Steelers go ‘run-heavy’ at all but recent weeks have proven that the threat of the run helps the pass and keeps the defense honest.
TURN THEM OVER. Sorry for the ‘all caps’ there but the Steelers are in desperate need of some turnovers. The Raiders had three different running backs fumble the ball away last week and Derek Carr will force throws especially under pressure. This is the perfect week for the Steelers’ defense to get back on track in terms of fixing that turnover ratio. There has to be more of a concentrated effort though. When tackling, guys have to put their facemask on the ball, punch at the ball and swipe at it as well. Turnovers won’t happen without some effort.
Prediction: The streak of bad luck in Oakland has to come to an end at some point doesn’t it? This team is in the midst of a brutal season and many of these players know they aren’t returning because they don’t fit what Jon Gruden wants to do. That said, I expect a similar effort from what we saw last week from Oakland in their loss to the Chiefs. The good news is that the Steelers have been surprisingly good on the road in 2018. It won’t be easy. Steelers 27 Raiders 20
Season Prediction Record: 8-4