The Pittsburgh Steelers are the last team to miss the playoffs after winning the previous Super bowl and if they don’t figure things out quickly they are headed down the same path. The return of Ben Roethlisberger should help. He is likely to be under center Sunday as the Steelers look to avoid their first four game losing streak in five years when they host the lonely Oakland Raiders. Pittsburgh won Super Bowl XL in February of 2006 but finished 8-8 the following regular season missing the playoffs in coach Bill Cowher’s final year. Pittsburgh has lost three straight since a 6-2 start, and its third ranked defense has blown fourth quarter leads en route to consecutive overtime losses. Most recently, the Steelers let Kansas City drive 91 yards to a tying touchdown in a game the Chiefs won 27-24 in overtime. Last week, backup quarterback Dennis Dixon had given Pittsburgh a lead, the defense allowed the Ravens to march 84 yards for a tying field goal before winning 20-17 in the extra session. Currently, Cincinnati is holding a two-game lead plus the head-to-head edge in the AFC North, Pittsburgh’s hopes of repeating as division champions are all but gone. The Steelers are one of seven AFC teams either one game above or below .500 fighting for the conference’s final wild-card berth. Below are your betting lines, trends and predictions.
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Steelers vs Raiders betting line and odds:
Pittsburgh Steelers -15(-110)
vs Oakland Raiders +15 (-110)
Over 37 (-110)
Under 37 (-110)
Steelers vs. Raiders Predictions:
Final Score Prediction – Pittsburgh 35 Oakland 10
Spread Prediction – This is a statement game for the Steelers. Roethlisberger will play and show that he is healthy and one of the premier quarterbacks in the national football league. Although Troy Polamalu, will likely miss his third straight game the Steelers shouldn’t have much trouble with the leagues worst passing offense at 146.4 yards per game. The Oakland defense gave up a season high 494 yards in a 24-7 loss to the Cowboys last week. The Steelers will cover this 15 point spread.
Over/Under – The Raiders have allowed an NFL-worst 54 plays of at least 20 yards, with 15 coming on the ground and 39 through the air. This will continue this week as the Steelers come into town to send a message that they are still in the hunt for the playoffs. Even defensive players for the Raiders are calling their schemes too simple. Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski has five interceptions in his last two starts at home. Take the OVER 37 points in this one.
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