The Raiders look ahead to take on the Pittsburg Steelers on Dec. 9 at home in Oakland. Raiders still searching for their third win on the season. Steelers coming in with a 7-4-1 record on the season with playoff aspirations.
The current betting lines in Vegas by “Bovada” are Steelers (-10) with a O/U of (51.5) and money line (-550) for the Steelers, as it’s (+375) for the Raiders.
The Steelers will be without running back James Connor due to an ankle injury that he suffered week 13, during the Chargers game. Steelers look toward a running back by committee approach this week in place of Connor’s absence. The Steelers provide one of the best quarterback to wide receiver threats with Ben Roethlisberger throwing the rock to Antonio Brown and the emerging Juju Smith-Schuster. Look for the Steelers to lean on the passing game to exploit the Raiders poor secondary.
The Raiders have signed former Denver Broncos running back C.J Anderson during the week. Doug Martin got banged up in the last game against the Chiefs. No confirmation if Martin is going to give it a go on Sunday. The signing of Anderson this week provides the Raiders with some reassurance at the running back position if Martin cannot play. Martin was put into the starting role when Marshawn Lynch went down with an injury. Raiders also will mix in Jalen Richard to get some touches.
Gruden was asked what enticed him about signing C.J Anderson?
Gruden said “He’s been a good player for a long time. Doug Martin hurt his knee and we’re not 100 percent sure about his status for the game, although we think he’ll be good to go. We can’t take any precautions. We’ve got four games left to play and the Steelers blitz almost every play. We needed a back. Fortunately for us, C.J. Anderson was available and we’re happy to have him. “
Both teams will be without their primary running back on offense. Throwing the ball through the air should be a focus in this one throughout, since both teams will try to fill the void with backups in at running back.
Quarterback Derek Carr will look to move the ball on the Steelers defense, who currently lead the NFL in sacks with 41. Pittsburg provides a pass rush that stars T.J Watt, Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt and Bud Dupree. Watt has reached ten sacks and four forced fumbles surpassing his totals from his rookie season last year.
Earlier in the week Gruden was asked if Ben Roethlisberger has evolved?
Gruden said “He doesn’t look any different to me when I was playing against him, when I was coaching last time or when I was in the booth or studying him now. He’s still got a great physical presence in the pocket. He still creates a lot of offense when nothing is there with his scrambling. He’s at his best when they need him the most. They need him a lot right now, so we’re expecting the best from Roethlisberger on Sunday.”
(Photo: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports)
Follow Nicholas Cothrel on twitter @NickCothrel41
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