Bad Timing: Reeling Raiders Host Steelers

Following a dismal showing in Miami the Oakland Raiders are 0-2 for the first time since 2007. And the search for the first victory of the Coach Allen era doesn’t get any easier this Sunday when the Raiders host Big Ben and the Pittsburgh Steelers (4:25 pm Eastern, CBS).

Melted in Miami

Oakland, after dropping its season opener at home to rival San Diego, lost Sunday in Miami 35-13. And while we’d like to say that final score isn’t quite indicative of how close the game actually was, we can’t. The Raiders led 10-7 at the half Sunday, and only trailed 21-13 early in the fourth quarter. But that’s where Oakland’s day ended, as the Dolphins iced the game with a couple of touchdowns.

On the day the Raiders got outrushed 263-23 and possessed the ball for just 25 minutes. And the Oakland defense allowed Miami rookie QB Ryan Tannehill, in his second NFL start, to look like a seasoned pro, letting him complete 18 of 30 passes with nary an interception.

So on the season Raiders RB Darren McFadden has run the ball a total of 26 times, while QB Carson Palmer has thrown it 94 times. That is not a ratio conducive to victory.

The Raiders are now 4-7 straight-up and 4-6-1 vs. the NFL odds in games Palmer has started for them.

Big Ben and the Boys

The Steelers, meanwhile, are off to a 1-1 start to this season. Pittsburgh lost its opener at Denver 31-19, then Sunday destroyed the Jets 27-10. Pittsburgh led the Broncos in the fourth quarter, only to fall victim to a Peyton Manning-led comeback, but bounced back to man-handle New York.

The Steelers held the Jets to 219 yards of offense, and covered as 4.5-point favorites on the NFL odds.

The Wounded

On the injury front Oakland is already down both Week 1 starting cornerbacks. Ron Bartell suffered a broken shoulder blade in the season opener, and Shawntae Spencer sprained his foot Sunday. So there might be some shuffling done in the Raiders secondary heading into this Pittsburgh game, and that’s not something you want to be doing before going up against Big Ben and crew of receivers.

Remember When?

These two teams, who formed one of the great AFC rivalries during the real glory days of these franchises back in the 1970s, last met two seasons ago, when the Steelers routed the Raiders 35-3 at Heinz Field.

The Line

Several online sportsbooks opened Oakland at +4.5 for Sunday’s game, and have since bumped the Raiders to +5. Also, for those out there who think Oakland could pull an upset Sunday, the Raiders can be played at around +180 on the money line at various outlets.

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