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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 11
2010
CHI at MIA BAL at CAR OAK at PIT *TB at SF
*GB at MIN *BUF at CIN *CLE at JAC *IND at NE
WAS at TEN DET at DAL *SEA at NO NYG at PHI
*UPDATED *ARI at KC HOU at NYJ ATL at STL *DEN at SD

Prediction: OAK 13, PIT 24

In a shocker, the Raiders won 27-24 in Pittsburgh last year. In another shocker, the Raiders are currently tied for first in the AFC West. but are only 1-3 on the road. The Steelers come off their whooping by the visiting Patriots last week which left them a shocking 2-2 at home. The Steelers are tied with the Ravens in the AFC North and already lost once to them. This game has to be a win.

Oakland Raiders (5-4)
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TEN L 13-38 10 Bye -
2 STL W 16-14 11 @PIT --
3 @ARI L 23-24 12 MIA --
4 HOU L 24-31 13 @SD --
5 SD W 35-27 14 @JAC --
6 @SF L 9-17 15 DEN --
7 @DEN W 59-14 16 IND --
8 SEA W 33-3 17 @KC --
9 KC W 23-20 - - -
Raiders Report | Statistics | Roster
OAKLAND at PIT Rush Catch Pass
QB Jason Campbell - - 190,1
RB Darren McFadden 60 50 -
TE Zach Miller - 20 -
WR Louis Murphy - 50,1 -
WR Johnnie Lee Higgins - 10 -
WR Jacoby Ford - 40 -
PK Sebastian Janikowski 1 XP 2 FG -
Pregame Notes: The Raiders come off a three game winning streak (rubbing eyes) and have been on their bye to rest up. The schedule is not kind with the Steelers and Colts left to play but otherwise the season is in the hands of the Raiders. Take care of business in the remaining three matchups within the division and these Raiders just might not be done shocking people.

QUARTERBACK: While Bruce Gradkowski is expected back this week, he is not going to start unless HC Tom Cable changes his mind. Jason Campbell just won three straight games and that alone merits at least one more start. While the competition has been less than stellar, Campbell has been effective by scoring at least once if not twice in each game and remaining above 200 passing yards in each.

Gradkowski passed for 308 yards and three touchdowns in Pittsburgh last year.

The Steelers will be plenty motivated in this game after the loss last year and the loss last week to the Pats. Expect one score and moderate yardage at best.

RUNNING BACKS: Darren McFadden comes off his bye ready to continue the amazing season he has started. A perceived bust since being drafted, 2010 has been the magic for McFadden who has not only scored six times, he has never had less than 114 total yards in any game this year. His role as a receiver ensures that he will turn in no less than a decent game each week and normally one of the better performances by any running back in the league. In just seven games, he has already rushed for 757 yards and is averaging 5.4 yards per carry. This is not the same McFadden we thought we knew.

Michael Bush really only matters if McFadden is out. He still provides around 50 or 60 yards in most games and he has scored four times but he's a very low end fantasy starter since he only gets 7 or 8 carries in most games when McFadden is healthy.

The Raiders rushed for 88 yards on 24 carries in Pittsburgh last year.

This is where the game turns. The Steelers are the best team at stopping runners and have only allowed one rushing score at home and no runner has gained more than 87 yards against them. Leave Bush out this week and expect depressed stats from McFadden but enough receiving yardage to merit him as a certain start. With Zach Miller ailing, McFadden should need to catch even more.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Even with improved passing, this group has been a very hit-or-miss proposition but that is a huge upgrade from the past three years when none of the Raiders wideouts had even a shred of fantasy value. Darrius Heyward-Bey is still a tease, catching five passes for 105 yards and one score against the Seahawks but sandwiching that between games of 19 yards and no catches. Jacoby Ford stumbled into a big game against the Chiefs with 148 yards on six receptions but he only had four catches for 37 yards in all other games combined. Louis Murphy started the year with promise, then slowed down and then missed the last two games. He is expected back this week.

Heyward-Bey is suffering from a hamstring strain and may not play this week.

Murphy ended with 128 yards and two scores on four catches against the Steelers last season.

The Steelers have only allowed one wideout to score in Pittsburgh though many have turned in decent yardage. Since I like this as a big win for the Steelers, I like the wideouts here to do better than expected from trash time and one trash touchdown.

TIGHT ENDS: Until he was injured, Zach Miller was a force at tight end. He had four scores over a five game period and had been tracking around 60 yards per game. Miller has not practiced as of this writing and I will assume he can only play a limited role if that. If Miller could be healthy, he would easily be the primary target for Campbell. He might even have a big game but he needs both feet to play well.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 24 1 31 12 1 11
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 15 2 18 25 17 11
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) OAK -9 1 -13 13 16 0


Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3)
Homefield: Heinz Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 ATL W 15-9 10 NE L 26-39
2 @TEN W 19-11 11 OAK --
3 @TB W 38-13 12 @BUF --
4 BAL L 14-17 13 @BAL --
5 Bye - 14 CIN --
6 CLE W 28-10 15 NYJ --
7 @MIA W 23-22 16 CAR --
8 @NO L 10-20 17 @CLE --
9 @CIN W 27-21 - - -
Steelers Report | Statistics | Roster
PITTSBURGH vs OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger - - 270,2
RB Rashard Mendenhall 100,1 20 -
TE Heath Miller - 30 -
WR Emmanuel Sanders - 20 -
WR Hines Ward - 50,1 -
WR Antwaan Randle El - 30 -
WR Mike Wallace - 110,1 -
PK Shaun Suisham 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: Eye-opening loss last week that forces the Steelers to refocus and stop giving away games at home. The team has released long time kicker Jeff Reed and signed Shaun Suisham but the problem has been more defensively with four straight games with 20+ points allowed. That coincided with a three game road trek but the Steel Curtain has been left slightly ajar this year. That has to be fixed over the next two weeks before the schedule serves up the Ravens and Jets.

QUARTERBACK: Ben Roethlisberger has only played in two home games and posted three scores in each with 257 yards against the Browns and 387 yards on the Pats. Big Ben struggled in the last two road games but should be better against a secondary that will take a big step down without CB Nnamdi Asomugha again this week.

Roethlisberger passed for 278 yards and two scores on the Raiders last year. Expect around the same this time with success on the ground as well. The Raiders have allowed exactly two passing scores to eight of their nine opponents this year.

RUNNING BACKS: Rashard Mendenhall has been very productive in all home games until last week and the Raiders have allowed big rushing efforts when away from Oakland both as runners and receiving backs. Mendenhall already totaled four touchdowns at home and should manage to score at least once in this game with solid yardage. He is usually limited enough to remain below 100 yards but should be started in any home game.

Mendenhall gained 103 yards and a score on the Raiders last year.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Hines Ward suffered a mild concussion last week that kept him out of the game but he is likely to be cleared and play this week. As an added perk, CB Nnamdi Asomugha will be out and leave Ward with the same coverage that netted Dwayne Bowe 63 yards and a score in the last game. Mike Wallace has only been getting better and now has five touchdowns over the last five games and topped 110 yards in the last two weeks. His last home game netted him 90 yards and a score with Roethlisberger as the quarterback.

Santonio Holmes had 149 yards and a score versus the Raiders last year and Ward ended with 77 yards and a score on six catches. Substitute in Wallace for Holmes and he is a must start again this week. Wallace is developing at a pace that will net him a top 20 if not top 10 ranking next summer.

TIGHT ENDS: Heath Miller had a season best 60 yards on five catches last week but has been locked around 30 yards in almost every other game while scoring only once this year. He is just a marginal play for some yards.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 26 16 11 26 13 7
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 12 26 4 20 5 15
Advantage(+) or Disadvantage(-) PIT -14 10 -7 -6 -8 8

WEEK 11
2010
CHI at MIA BAL at CAR OAK at PIT TB at SF
GB at MIN BUF at CIN CLE at JAC IND at NE
WAS at TEN DET at DAL SEA at NO NYG at PHI
  ARI at KC HOU at NYJ ATL at STL DEN at SD
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