Steelers' Quarterback Controversy Could Improve Raiders' Playoff Odds

Very little went right for the Raiders on Sunday. Tuesday might have been a different story, but that depends on your opinion of Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph.

As things currently stand, Oakland is on the outside looking in on the AFC playoff picture. At 6-5, the Raiders occupy the seventh seed in the conference. The team directly above them, with an identical record? Pittsburgh.

The Steelers might not currently be in playoff position if not for a quarterback switch they made midway through their Week 12 win over the Bengals. Rudolph had been terrible against the Browns the week prior, and he wasn't any better against Cincinnati, completing eight of 16 passes for 85 yards, throwing zero touchdowns and an interception in the first half. When Pittsburgh emerged from halftime trailing 7-3, coach Mike Tomlin made the move to put rookie QB Devlin Hodges under center.

The decision paid off, as Hodges led the Steelers to a 16-10 comeback road win. It came as little surprise then when Tomlin announced Tuesday that Hodges would start in Week 13 against the Browns.

So, is Pittsburgh's quarterback switch a good thing or a bad thing for the Raiders?

[RELATED: Raiders can overcome Jets debacle by learning from past]

Considering Hodges went undrafted and has accomplished more as a duck-caller than as a quarterback, he doesn't exactly have a background that would incline one to believe he will take the job and run with it. Rudolph has the better pedigree and was a third-round pick, and with Ben Roethlisberger in the twilight of his career, it would make sense if Pittsburgh gave him another shot. While Hodges will start in Week 13, Tomlin made no guarantees beyond that.

After Week 13, three of Pittsburgh's four remaining games are on the road, and that's never an easy environment for a rookie QB. Is Hodges better than Rudolph? Maybe, but that doesn't appear to be a very high bar. The Steelers aren't the only team the Raiders are competing with for a playoff spot, but at least right now, they would appear to be the most vulnerable.

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