Steelers-Raiders: NFL Odds Makers Favor Pittsburgh by 7

Following three straight wins, and back-to-back losses by Kansas City, the 5-4 Oakland Raiders find themselves tied with the Chiefs for first place in the AFC West.

After a pair of blowout wins over Denver and Seattle, by a combined score of 92-17, the Raiders held on for a 23-20 overtime win over Kansas City to enter their bye week riding high. Winning a fourth straight will be no easy task.

The Raiders have had an extra week to get healthy and prepare, but beating the 6-3 Pittsburgh Steelers will not be easy to do. The Steelers figure to be focused and hungry following a humbling 39-26 loss to New England.

NFL odds makers expect Pittsburgh to bounce back this week, listing the Steelers as a 7-point favorite with the total set at 41.

Pittsburgh is still tied for the top spot in the AFC North, but it may not be there for long if it can’t find a way to fight through the injury bug.

Last week’s loss to the Patriots was even worse than the final score would lead you to believe. Pittsburgh trailed 23-3 heading into the fourth quarter, and its eventual 13-point setback was the third-worst under coach Mike Tomlin.

Last week, Pittsburgh was without starting defensive ends Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel. The Steelers were also missing Max Starks and Chris Kemoeatu on the offensive line. During the game, they lost Hines Ward to a concussion and Lawrence Timmons to a hip injury.

While Ward is probable this week, Kemoeatu and Timmons remain questionable and Keisel is doubtful. This means the Steelers are going to have to do better with what they have.

If last week’s loss isn’t enough motivation, an upset loss at home to Oakland last season should help fuel the fire.

In that game, Oakland torched Pittsburgh for 308 yards through the air. I point this out because the Pittsburgh pass defense has not been playing well in re...

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