Welcome to the most comprehensive Pittsburgh Steelers Game Day Preview on the internet! This is your one stop shop for everything you need to know about the Steelers and their upcoming opponent! Mike Drakulich of Pittsburgh SportsNation brings you inside the huddle for both teams, providing all fans with a Game Preview, the Steeler’s Keys to Victory, Score Prediction, a detailed breakdown of each team, Fantasy Football Impact, Game Information, Individual Stats, Team Stats, and the latest Injury Report. Heck, you even get the weather at kickoff. The only thing you’re missing is a game uniform!
STEELERS HOPING TO END WEST COAST WOES VS RAIDERS
If the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4-1) have any plans for a playoff run, they had better find a way to wake up from their funk when they visit the Oakland Raiders (2-10) this Sunday afternoon.
Pittsburgh was rolling along on a six game winning streak before dropping the past two games in which they had total control over. Untimely and backbreaking turnovers cost them in Denver. Bad officiating and head scratching defensive schemes led to a stunning 33-30 loss to the Chargers last week.
To boot, Steelers running back James Conner will be out at least this week with an ankle injury. Jaylen Samuels and Steven Ridley will look to pick up the numbers lost with Conners out.
With the Baltimore Ravens just a half game behind them, this is a must win game for Pittsburgh, which faces New England and New Orleans the next two weeks after Sunday.
The Raiders are a horrible team defensively, especially against the run where they are giving up 153.3 yards per game. Even with Conner out, the Steelers have to find a way to be more balanced in their offensive attack.
“We’re going to still address it as trying to be as balanced as we can, run when we can run,” Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner said. “It all comes down to efficiency.”
Samuels has his teammate’s confidence in him.
“Nothing changes with Jaylen or Ridley in there, absolutely nothing at all for us,” guard Ramon Foster said. “We’re going to be a group of guys (on the offensive line that says), ‘Hey, this falls on our backs. We’re gonna get this done, and that’s that’ whether we’re running it 12 times or we are running it 22 times.
“The volume we get, maybe we get more yards, too. … If Ben wants to throw it, or if we are in a better situation where we have 500 yards passing, that’s fine, too. It’s all about getting a win.”
Balance is the key, as Ben Roethlisberger career 20-34-1 record when throwing at least 40 times in a game, including 3-4-1 in 2018. They are 4-0 when Big Ben attempts fewer than 40 passes.
“I think that is a continual discussion for us week-in and week-out in terms of how we want to choose to attack people in an effort to keep them off-balance,” coach Mike Tomlin said, “to ring up the scoreboard and make the movement of the ball a more fluid process. At the end of the day, we’re going to have to be able to run it. We’re going to have to be able to throw it.”
Roethlisberger will no doubt reach the 5,000 yard passing yards plateau soon this season. he has 26 touchdown passes, but also has 13 interceptions. Big Ben, like any other big time quarterback wants the game and the ball in his hands when the game is on the line, but at the same time…
“It’s just a matter of how you say it. That throw he made the other day, moving to the left, a 50-yard strike to AB, back of the end line between two people. Not many people are making those throws,” Fichtner said. “The ones that are, you know their names. Rodgers. Brady. Brees. We’re talking about the best players in the game.
“And sometimes you are like, ‘Wow, come on, Ben, you can’t make that play every time,’ and sometimes it bites you.”
Steelers Keys To Victory
- Find some type of balance between the passing and run games.
- Enough of the crushing, game-changing turnovers. Secure the damn ball!!!
- James Washington needs to elevate his game.
- Get in Derek Carr’s face early and often.
- Neutralize Jared Cook.
It’s put up or shut up time for the Steelers. Against a bad team like Oakland, Pittsburgh needs to come out and bury a team that is giving up over 30 points per game. The defense has to find a way to start creating turnovers, and it starts by abusing Derek Carr every time he steps back to pass. The Raiders have one real receiving threat in Jared Cook, so it would be advisable to find a way to neutralize him at all costs. Coach Tomlin and his assistants have been horrible the past few weeks in making any adjustments that puts their team into a position to win games. If the Steelers truly believe, to a man, that they are Super Bowl contenders, then this is a game where you come in and dominate a team that has barely half the talent you possess.
Jaylen Samuels was a beast at N.C. State, and is fully capable of filling in while James Conner is injured. He is a smart runner, and a weapon to be utilized in the backfield passing game. Ben Roethlisberger needs to start trusting in his run game more often rather than putting the game on his shoulders every time. Look no further than how New Orleans, New England, and the LA Rams run their offenses. That is how the Steelers should aspire to be. It’s not all about style points… it’s just about points, period. Get the job done and prepare yourself for the two hardest games on the schedule. This is where the Steelers season continues or ends…
Steelers 38 Raiders 17
NFL Week 14
Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders
Venue: Oakland-Alamedia Coliseum, Oakland, CA. | Field: Natural Grass
Kickoff: Sunday, December 9th, at 4:25 pm
TV: FOX (locally WPGH-TV, channel 53) | Announcers: Thom Brennaman (play-by-play) Chris Spielman (analyst) | Shannon Spake (sideline)
Local Radio: Pittsburgh- 102.5 WDVE-FM/970 WBGG-AM | Announcers: Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play) Tunch Ilkin (analyst) | Missi Matthews (sideline)
National Radio: N/A | Announcers:
Weather at Kickoff: 58 and partly cloudy. Winds SSW 4 mph.
Vegas Line: Pittsburgh -12.5
Fantasy Football Focus
- Start: QB Ben Roethlisberger, WR Antonio Brown, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers Defense
- Sleeper: RB Jaylen Samuels
- Sit: N/A
- Start: TE Jared Cook
- Sleeper: None
- Sit: QB Derek Carr, RB Doug Martin
- Series History: Began in 1970
- The Steelers are 10-12 overall against the Raiders.
- At Home: 6-5
- On Road: 4-7
- Streak: Steelers won previous meeting.
- Last Regular Season Meeting: Nov. 8, 2015, in Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh 38, Oakland 35)
- Post-Season: 3-3
- Last Post-Season Meeting: Jan. 1, 1984, at Los Angeles (Los Angeles 38, Pittsburgh 10) – AFC Divisional Playoff
- Oakland HC Jon Gruden was the wide receivers coach at the University of Pittsburgh in 1991.
- Ben Roethlisberger needs 55 passing yards to reach 4,000-passing yards in 2018 and for the sixth season in his NFL career, and in back-to-back campaigns.
- Roethlisberger is one 300-yard passing game from notching 61 such games in his regular-season NFL career.
- Antonio Brown needs four touchdown catches to reach 75 in his NFL career and with the Steelers.
- Brown, with 100 catches in 2018, will become the first player in NFL history to record 100 or more receptions in six consecutive years.
- JuJu Smith-Schuster is four touchdown receptions shy of 15 in his NFL career.
- T.J. Watt needs three sacks to reach 20.0 in his NFL career.
- Cam Heyward is 1.0 sacks from becoming tying Aaron Smith (44.0) for the second-most by a Steelers defensive lineman since sacks became an official statistic in 1982 (Keith Willis: 59.0).
A look at the Pittsburgh Steelers!
- Overall Record: 7-4-1
- Head Coach: Mike Tomlin (12th Season with Steelers)
- Overall Regular Season Record: 123-64-1 (.657)
- Playoff Record: 8-7 (Qualified for playoffs 8 times)
- 2018 Pittsburgh Steelers Roster
- Steelers Team Statistics, including Defensive Stats
- Last Game: LA Chargers 33 Pittsburgh 30
Scouting the Steelers
Ben Roethlisberger has been on fire during the Steeler’s winning steak. Big Ben’s big arm, along with his uncanny ability to slip out of the pocket and extend plays makes him one one of the league’s best.
Le’Veon Bell who? James Conner has shown he more than capable of shouldering a starters share of carries. He has slimmed down and has added speed and quickness to an already powerful running style. Conner has become a dual threat and is one of the best RB’s in the NFL. Jaylen Samuels is an H-Back type of player that can line up all over the field. He is especially dangerous catching passes out of the backfield. Steven Ridley is a capable runner that can be counted upon on an as needed basis.
What more can you say about Antonio Brown? He is the league’s best wide receiver. His dedication and drive to be the best is unmatched by any player in the league. JuJu Smith-Schuster heads into his 2nd season and has picked up where he left off. Speaking of rookies, James Washington was a Camp favorite of Roethlisberger, and could quickly establish himself as a dangerous weapon in the slot as the 3rd receiver. Justin Hunter is a nice deep threat, but is now injured. Darrius Heyward-Bey is mainly used on special teams. Ryan Switzer has been good in the return game, but has also established himself as a reliable target for Roethlisberger out of the slot..
Jesse James is reliable as ever. Vance McDonald is making a big impact in his 2nd year as a Steeler, often delivering punishing hits while being tackled . Xavier Grimble provides a big target for Roethlisberger in the Red Zone.
Up front, the Steelers deploy Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt as their defensive ends. In the middle, Javon Hargrave and Daniel McCullers will rotate. Tyson Alualu and Kameron Canaday will see time at defensive end as well. L.T. Walton can play all three spots.
The linebacker unit goes Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt on the outside, with Vince Williams and Jon Bostic in the middle. Anthony Chickillo and Olasunkanmi Adeniyi back-up Dupree and Watt, while L.J. Fort and Tyler Matakevich are reserves in the middle.
In the secondary, Coty Sensabaugh and Joe Haden are the starters at cornerback. Backing them up will be Artie Burns, Mike Hilton, and Cameron Sutton. Rookie Terrell Edmunds starts at strong safety, with Morgan Burnett and Jordan Dangerfield backing him up and seeing plenty of action in nickle and dime formations. Sean Davis is the starter yet again at free safety, with Brian Allen and Marcus Allen as reserves.
- Ben Roethlisberger (3,945 yards passing | 26 TD passes | 13 interceptions | 17 sacks | 94 yards rushing | 3 TD’s)
- *James Conner (909 yards rushing | 12 rushing TD’s | 52 receptions | 467 yards receiving | 1 receiving TD’s)
- Stevan Ridley (56 yards rushing | 0 rushing TD’s | 3 receptions | 18 yards receiving | 0 receiving TD’s)
- Jaylen Samuels (31 yards rushing | 0 rushing TD’s | 7 receptions | 54 yards receiving | 2 receiving TD’s)
- Roosevelt Nix (0 yards rushing | 0 rushing TD’s | 3 receptions | 36 yards receiving | 0 receiving TD’s)
- Juju Smith-Schuster (83 receptions | 1,104 receiving yards | 4 receiving TD’s)
- Antonio Brown (81 receptions | 1,028 receiving yards | 12 receiving TD’s)
- Ryan Switzer (29 receptions | 223 receiving yards | 1 receiving TD’s)
- James Washington (8 receptions | 77 receiving yards | 1 receiving TD’s)
- *Justin Hunter (3 receptions | 21 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
- Darrius Heyward-Bey (1 receptions | 9 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
- Vance McDonald (40 receptions | 472 receiving yards | 3 receiving TD’s)
- Jesse James (27 receptions | 386 receiving yards | 2 receiving TD’s)
- Xavier Grimble (5 receptions | 70 receiving yards | 0 receiving TD’s)
- Chris Boswell (Extra Point: 36-41 | FG: 10-14 | 0-19: 0-0 | 20-29: 3-3 | 30-39: 3-3 | 40-49: 3-7 | 50+: 1-1 | Long: 50)
A look at the Oakland Raiders!
- Overall Record: 2-10
- Head Coach: Jon Gruden (5th Season with Raiders)
- Overall Regular Season Record: 97-91 (.516) | 40-36 (.526) with Raiders
- Playoff Record: 5-4 (Qualified for playoffs 5 times)
- 2018 Oakland Raiders Roster
- Oakland Team Statistics, including Defensive Stats
- Last Week: Kansas City 40 Oakland 33
Scouting the Raiders
Derek Carr hasn’t been the same since his injury and the end of the 2016 season, but has shown a little improvement over the past few weeks. He has 16 TD’s to go with eights interceptions. He has been sacked 38 times.
Doug Martin is the lead back with Marshawn Lynch injured. Jalen Richard is a threat out of the backfield with 56 receptions so far this year.
Jordy Nelson isn’t what he was at Green Bay, but he leads all Raiders receivers with 35 catches for 450 yards and three scores. Seth Roberts and Marcell Ateman are Carr’s other choices in the passing game.
Jared Cook is the team’s leader with 54 receptions and 709 yards receiving. He also has seven touchdowns.
As bad at it gets. The Raiders only have 10 sacks on the year and are giving up 30.6 points per game.
- Derek Carr (3,112 yards passing | 16 TD passes | 8 interceptions | 38 sacks | 51 yards rushing | 1 TD’s)
- Doug Martin (445 yards rushing | 2 rushing TD’s | 16 receptions | 106 yards receiving | 0 receiving TD’s)
- Jalen Richard (214 yards rushing | 0 rushing TD’s | 56 receptions | 478 yards receiving | 0 receiving TD’s)
- *Marshawn Lynch (376 yards rushing | 3 rushing TD’s | 15 receptions | 84 yards receiving | 0 receiving TD’s)
- Jordy Nelson (35 receptions | 450 receiving yards | 3 receiving TD’s)
- Seth Roberts (30 receptions | 344 receiving yards | 2 receiving TD’s)
- Marcell Ateman (9 receptions | 82 receiving yards | 1 receiving TD’s)
- Jared Cook (54 receptions | 709 receiving yards | 6 receiving TD’s)
- Lee Smith (8 receptions | 69 receiving yards | 1 receiving TD’s)
- Daniel Carlson (Extra Point: 11-11 | FG: 9-10 | 0-19: 0-0 | 20-29: 1-1 | 30-39: 3-3| 40-49: 4-5 | 50+: 1-1 | Long: 50)
Steelers – Raiders: Offense vs Defense Match-Up
Steelers Offense: Steelers average 423.6 YPG | Raiders defense allows 396.6 YPG
- Rushing: Steelers average 93.1 YPG | Raiders defense allows 153.3 YPG
- Passing: Steelers average 330.5 YPG | Raiders defense allows 243.3 YPG
- Scoring: Steelers average 28.8 PPG | Raiders defense allows 30.6 PPG
Steelers Defense: Steelers allow 328.9 YPG | Raiders offense averages 365.3 YPG
- Rushing: Steelers allow 100.4 YPG | Raiders offense averages 105.3 YPG
- Passing: Steelers allow 228.5 YPG | Raiders offense averages 260 YPG
- Scoring: Steelers allow 23.5 PPG | Raiders offense averages 18.3 PPG
- Pittsburgh (Sacks: 41 | Interceptions: 6 | Fumbles: 8)
- Oakland (Sacks: 10 | Interceptions: 9 | Fumbles: 4)
Injury Report (12/7/2018)
- Out: RB James Conner (Ankle), OT Marcus Gilbert (Knee)
- Doubtful: N/A
- Questionable: S Morgan Burnett (Back), LB Anthony Chickillo (Ankle)
- Out: N/A
- Doubtful: N/A
- Questionable: DT Maurice Hurst (Ankle), RB Doug Martin (Knee), G Kelechi Osemeie (Toe), LB Kyle Wilber (Hamstring), CB Daryl Worely (Shoulder), WR Seth Roberts (Concussion)
Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 Schedule
Thursday, Aug. 9 @ Philadelphia W, 31-14
Thursday, Aug. 16 @ Green Bay L, 51-34
Saturday, Aug. 25 TENNESSEE W, 16-6
Thursday, Aug. 30 CAROLINA W, 39-24
REGULAR SEASON (7-4-1)
Sunday, Sept. 9 @ Cleveland 1 p.m. | TIE- 21-21
Sunday, Sept. 16 KANSAS CITY 1 p.m. | L- 42-37
Monday, Sept. 24 @ Tampa Bay 8:15 p.m. | W- 30-27
Sunday, Sept. 30 BALTIMORE 8:20 p.m. | L- 26-14
Sunday, Oct. 7 ATLANTA* 1 p.m. | W- 41-17
Sunday, Oct. 14 @ Cincinnati* | W- 28-21
Sunday, Oct. 21 BYE WEEK
Sunday, Oct. 28 CLEVELAND* | W- 33-18
Sunday, Nov. 4 @ Baltimore* | W- 23-16
Thursday, Nov. 8 CAROLINA | W- 52-21
Sunday, Nov. 18 @ Jacksonville | W- 20-16
Sunday, Nov. 25 @ Denver* | L – 24-17
Sunday, Dec. 2 LOS ANGELES CHARGERS* | L- 33-30
Sunday, Dec. 9 @ Oakland* 4:25 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Dec. 16 NEW ENGLAND* 4:25 p.m. (CBS)
Monday, Dec. 23 @ New Orleans* 4:25 p.m. (CBS)
Sunday, Dec. 30 CINCINNATI* 1 p.m. (CBS)
* – Times may change due to flexible scheduling
Sat.-Sun., Jan. 5-6 Wild Card Weekend
Sat.-Sun., Jan. 12-13 Divisional Playoff Games
Sunday, Jan. 20 Conference Championships
Sunday, Jan. 27 Pro Bowl (Orlando, Fla.)
Sunday, Feb. 3 Super Bowl LIII (Atlanta, Ga.)
From Midland, "The Basketball Capital of Pennsylvania", located 35 miles NW of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. This former steel town was home to storied athletes such as Dave Alston, Norm Van Lier, Simmie Hill, and the legendary 1965 Midland High School Basketball Team.
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As Editor of Pittsburgh SportsNation, Mike Drakulich provides top notch opinions and coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pitt Panthers football & basketball, Robert Morris Colonials basketball, and Duquesne Dukes basketball, as well as all sports teams that represent Western Pennsylvania, including WPIAL High School Football.
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