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Friday, November 19, 2010

Who I like, Oakland version

Revenge isn't often a factor in pro football games. Rosters change from year to year and, unless a team or individual does something truly remarkable, memories are short.

The Raiders did something remarkable last season in Pittsburgh, spending three quarters being unable to get out of their own way before rallying with 21 fourth-quarter points for a 27-24 win against the Steelers.

Some players this summer talked about that being the low point of a sub-par 2009 season.

The Steelers get a chance to avenge that loss Sunday when they host the Raiders again.

Both teams will be relatively healthy, so that will not likely be a factor.

But Oakland will try to play a lot of press coverage against the Steelers and that could be the Raiders' downfall. One mistake and Mike Wallace will be all by himself behind the secondary.

And that's something that has happened a bit to the Raiders this season. Despite allowing less than 200 yards passing per game and giving up an NFL-low in completions, the Raiders have permitted 16 touchdown passes, or one for just over every 10 completions they give up. That's a lot.

Oakland can get after the passer. The Raiders have 27 sacks this season, again, about one for every 10 pass attempts. But they have also allowed 26 – one per every 10 pass attempts.

You get the idea.

Oakland coach Tom Cable said this week when asked if the Raiders will try to spread the Steelers out, the way New Orleans and New England did, that his team is not built to do that. He's right.

There's a big difference between Jason Campbell, Oakland's quarterback, and Drew Brees and Tom Brady.

Campbell, by the way, has a passer rating of 67 in road games this season.

The Steelers are 7-point favorites and though that is a big number, I think they'll cover it, winning 24-13.


SKINLEY said...

I hope your pick is correct...I just see this team falling apart at the seams right now. Nnamdi Asomugha's health may be a big factor. Do you know if he has been shadowing the other teams top receiver this year or staying on a particular side of the field?

marc said...

the only way the steelers score more than 17 points is if the defense scores too. the raider's pass rush will destroy the passing game.

the raiders may not be built to spread out the steelers, but they will pick on gay (if he plays) like everyone else. look for gay to give up another TD catch today.

Anonymous said...

Steelers go up 14-0 on one good Ben drive (mostly broken plays) and a Polamalu int return. Kick two FGs (and miss one) the rest of the way. Raiders get a sack/fumble return TD in the 2nd quarter, one 3rd qtr drive courtesy of a big McFadden run or a pass interference penalty, resulting in another TD. Down 20-14 with 2:08 left Jason Campbell leads a 10-play TD drive (they score on a handoff out of the shotgun with 18 seconds left). Raiders - 21 Steelers - 20

Patrick said...

I agree with Dale here mostly. This is a perfect game to show this isn't last season.

You would think they would be up to the task, but if they don't win and look terrible doing it, who would be suprised?

That said, I think this is going to be one of those "beautiful" games as described by Tomlin. Lots of defense and lots of FG's.

I'll take the Steelers 20-13 with the Raiders last drive coming up a little short.

Also, I really hope Ben doesn't throw over 30 times today, but I'm sure he will.

Anonymous said...

Wow what crap all that was about the Raiders! Next time bring the cheerleaders they would have gained more rushing then McFadden