PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 06: Stefan Logan #11 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is tackled during a punt return by Michael Huff #24 and Isaiah Ekejiuba #50 of the Oakland Raiders during a first quarter run on December 6, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Stefan Logan;Isaiah Ekejiuba
Last season, the underdog Oakland Raiders stormed onto Pittsburgh's Heinz Field and shocked the Steelers for an upset 27-24 win that no one outside of maybe Bruce Gradkowski's parents would have predicted.
This season, the 6-2 Steelers are once again an elite AFC contender. But the Raiders may find another upset victory in the Steel Curtain, because the Steelers are hurting bad in all the places where the Raiders like to hurt you.
Jerry McDonald reports in the Oakland Tribune that the Steelers' offensive line is prolifically banged-up. Veteran starters Max Starks and Willie Colon are on injured reserve for the remainder of the season, and key pieces Markice Pouncey (center) and Chris Kemoeatu (left guard) were both injured in the Steelers' Monday night Bengals game.
That's four offensive line starters injured. The starting offensive line consists of only five guys. This is now officially an area of weakness for the Steelers.
The Raiders' most dominant unit of the team currently is the very defensive line that these beat-up Steelers offensive linemen will face. The Raiders' defense is No. 2 in the NFL in sacks with 27, behind San Diego and Green Bay who are tied at first with 28.
Furthermore, the Raiders' D-line has allowed only 75.3 yards rushing per game over the past three games.
Even furthermore, the Raiders will spend this Sunday resting up and getting healthy on their bye week. The Steelers will spend this Sunday acquiring more ouchies and injuries in a Sunday Night Football brawl with the 6-2 New England Patriots.
The injuries are aligning just right for the Raiders to steal another one from the Steelers.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who sees that kids today still want to grow up and be just like the Pittsburgh Steelers.