Old rivalry between the Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers matters once again

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NFL preview: Old rivalry between the Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers matters once again
The Oakland Raiders are on the rise as they get set to face the Pittsburgh Steelers who are coming off their worst home loss in four years. The two teams go head-to-head in Pittsburgh on Sunday 21 November.
Previous meetings and recent games
The Raiders have been a pretty bad football team for quite some time now and over the last seven seasons a meeting between these two has seemed pretty futile. Back in 2002, when the Raiders were actually
good, the Steelers were a field goal away from meeting Oakland in the AFC Championship. The two teams had met earlier that year with the Raiders winning 30-17 on week 2. Since then the two teams have split their meetings with the Raiders winning one of their
only five games last season at Heinz field against the Steelers by a score of 27-24.
The Raiders have now won three games in a row and have vaulted their way to the top of the AFC West Division. The Raiders play in an unpredictable division which saw the Kansas Chiefs race out in front
but they have since slipped down the standings. The San Diego Chargers started the season so badly despite all their talent, but they've started to turn things around. Still, the Raiders are flying high with confidence lately and believe this could be their
year to get back into the play-offs. They are coming off their bye week and likely had this meeting penciled in as one of the most important of the year so they'll be ready.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have lost two of their last three games, granted those losses came against NFL powerhouses the New Orleans Saints and the New England Patriots. They will want to avenge the 39-26
loss they suffered at the hands of the Patriots last week as they look to retake control of the AFC North.
How they match up
Ben Roethlisberger is the undisputed starter at quarterback for the Steelers. In Oakland there's a bit of a controversy brewing as Bruce Gradkowski has been considered the team's number one under centre,
but backup Jason Campbell has been effective since Gradkowski went out with an injury and has seen the team through its three-game win streak.
This will also be a matchup of two solid running backs – Rashard Mendenhall for the Steelers, and Darren McFadden for the Raiders. McFadden has run for five more yards than Mendenhall and has the better
average yards per carry, but Mendenhall has taken it to the house more times than McFadden. The Raiders possess the better second option in Michael Bush who has run for 324 yards this season.
The Steelers do have the better run defence, and if this game is played on the ground it could be a huge advantage. The Raiders, however, possess the NFL's second best pass defence.
What to expect
The Steelers will be desperate not to lose two straight games at home, but everybody loves a dark horse and nobody predicted the Raiders to be where they are. They've been winning lately, and emphatically
at that. This will be a gut check for the Raiders and they'll respond, but it won't be pretty. In a season that's been unpredictable since the very start, the Raiders keep it going with a 26-20 upset of the Steelers.



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