So this is Christmas. And what have you done? Well, in Roger Goodell's case, he's put two of the worst teams in the league on TV for a festive Christmas eve game we imagine nobody except hardcore fans will be watching.
Perhaps we shouldn't be so cynical. Raiders and Steelers always deliver an entertaining game, whether they are contending or not.
So what can we expect from this fairly run-of-the-mill Christmas eve match-up? Let's take a look.
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Raiders vs Steelers: Game Info, Date, Kick-Off Time & More
Who are the favorites?
When is Raiders vs Steelers?
The Las Vegas Raiders vs. Pittsburgh Steelers takes place on December 24th at 8.15pm. Hey, that's Christmas Eve!
Where can I watch Raiders vs Steelers?
The Las Vegas Raiders vs. Pittsburgh Steelers will be televised on NFL Network.
Where is the Raiders and Steelers game being played?
The Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh.
Raiders vs Steelers Odds: Breaking Down Each Team's Chances
Pittsburgh Steelers Odds
The Pittsburgh Steelers have opened up as favorites by a slim margin of +2.5 [clicktweak.net], mostly owing to their home-field advantage.
Tomlin and his men made light work of a dreadful Panthers in week 15 and will be looking to build some momentum by taking down a less-than-impressive Las Vegas Raiders outfit who have disappointed heavily this year.
It's still unclear whether rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett will be back under center in time for the match up as he is currently still in concussion protocol. Either way, Mitch Trubisky has shown he's more than capable of stepping up in Pickett's absence, having led Steelers to a convincing road victory over the Carolina Panthers in week 15.
In truth, despite this being a rivalry game of sorts, Pittsburgh Steelers will be more focused on next season than being too concerned about notching up a win here. That being said, Coach Tomlin has never been one to give opposing teams an easy ride - so it's going to be far from an easy win for Vegas.
Las Vegas Raiders Odds
It's difficult to break down the Raiders to know exactly who they are as an identity on the field. The last two results against the Rams and the Patriots probably give you some idea as to what you're dealing with, though not much.
In the Rams game, they fell to some last-minute magic from former number-one pick Baker Mayfield but, as usual, failed to make the most of their opportunities on the offensive side of the ball.
Against the Patriots, luck was on their side when Jakobi Meyers made a bizarre lateral play that allowed Chandler Jones to intercept the ball and take it to the end zone for the win after time expired.
Going into this season, the Raiders were considered by many to be a dark horse and at the very least, contenders for the playoffs. The reality has been much different. There's still time for them to make the playoffs, providing a lot of results go their way, but the truth is the endeavor would be pointless.
At +2.5 [clicktweak.net], they are an attractive pick against a lackluster Steelers outfit, but realistically, you can't rely on the Raiders for anything, especially when they can't even rely on themselves.
Will History Repeat Itself? Historic Raiders vs. Steelers Matchups
The Raiders and Steelers rivalry [clicktweak.net] goes back to the early 1970s, when one of the NFL's most famous plays - the immaculate reception - was born.
Since then, there's always been bad blood between these two AFC rivals, but which games go down in history? We take a look at our favorites below
Steelers 13 Raiders 7 - That Immaculate Reception Game
It would be remiss not to start with what is widely considered to be one of the most famous games in NFL history. This game is essentially what kick-started a bitter rivalry between the two franchises, leading to some incredible games in the 70s.
So, what actually happened? In the last 30 seconds of the game hall of fame quarterback, Terry Bradshaw targeted John Fuqua with a pass. Depending on who tells it, the ball then bounced off the helmet of Raiders safety Jack Tatum or off the hands of Fuqua.
Either way, Steelers full back Francos Harris scooped the ball up and ran it home for the game-winning touchdown. To this day, the play is constantly debated for its legitimacy. Most people believe the ball never touched Tatum or hit the ground first - both normally resulting in an incomplete pass.
That's now how it was called on the field though, and history judges Steelers as the victors. Just maybe don't bring it up with your Raiders fan grandpa.
Raiders 31 Steelers 28 - Comeback Classic
At this point in the mid 70s, the Steelers were back-to-back Super Bowl champions, and they were opening up their season against the rabid and aggrieved Raiders team still smarting from their AFC championship loss 9 months earlier.
For the most part, it looked as if it was business as usual here, as the Steelers got out to a 21-7 lead by the fourth quarter. But then Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler had other ideas and kicked off an improbable comeback.
After some Stabler magic, a blocked punt, and then an interception from inside linebacker Willie Hall, the Raiders capped off their momentous comeback with a last-minute field goal, scoring a total of 17 points in the span of two minutes against one of the NFL's best defenses of all time.
Steelers 21 Raiders 20 - Pittsburgh's Turn
After the 80s, there was never many memorable games between the Steelers and the Raiders, unless you were a fan of either franchise. This was largely in part to Raiders' regression into a shadow of their former selves, being unable to get back into contention.
There was one game at the turn of the millennium that Steelers fans will look back upon fondly, though. That was a memorable comeback win in which they rallied back from being 17-7 at halftime, eventually winning 21-20.
The win at the time kept their playoff hopes alive, although ultimately, it wasn't to be for the black and yellow that year.
Key Players for the Las Vegas Raiders
The Raider's trade for Davante Adams last off-season will go down as one of few things the franchise has done right in recent memory, giving up very little to bring arguably the best wide receiver in the league to the Allegiant Stadium.
It hasn't quite panned out the way it was supposed to, of course, but that has nothing to do with Davante. The former Green Bay packer has racked up 1,275 yards and 14 TDS, fulfilling his end of the bargain, acting as the team's most potent weapon alongside running back Josh Jacobs.
Mad Maxx, as he is affectionately known by Raiders faithful, is something of a throwback for the franchise. He represents a bygone era of toughness and grit that opposing teams use to fear, during a time when the silver and black were respected around the league.
The tenacious defensive end has been a rare bright spot on the defensive side of the ball for the Raiders, racking up 51 solo tackles and 11 sacks on the year. Only juggernauts such as Micah Parsons and Myles Garrett have bested the former Eastern Michigan 4th round pick.
Key Players for Pittsburgh Steelers
Diontae Johnson has been a rare consistent offensive light on the Pittsburgh Steelers this year, showing himself to be the team's most reliable offensive weapon. His quick feet and ability to create space mean he's always a danger for opposing teams, and it'll be no different against the Raiders this weekend.
As Pro Bowl fan voting gets underway, Steelers free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick finished first amongst players at his position, which gives you some idea as to how the player is perceived by fellow professionals.
During a transitional season for the Steelers he has remained an elite player, widely regarded as the best in the league at his position. However, even the best can make mistakes, and last time out he was caught short against the Raiders getting burnt for a last-minute touchdown that lost Steelers the game.
He'll be hoping he can make up for that this time around.
Las Vegas Raiders predictions: Will Derek Carr be Raiders quarterback next season?
Whisper it, but there have been some credible sources recently floating the idea that this may be Derek Carr's last year in the silver and black [clicktweak.net]. Although this is a topic that's touched upon almost every year, this time around there may be some actual meat to the rumors.
The feeling around the organization is that McDaniels wants to be given an opportunity to make his own imprint at the Raiders, ushering in a new era for the silver and black. Vinny Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review Journal has quoted league sources as saying a parting of ways is 'inevitable'.
It's not likely that Davis will let Carr just walk, however. There is plenty of time to flesh out trade deals around the league, and there will be no shortage of suitors for the veteran quarterback's services.
Pittsburgh Steelers predictions: Will Kenny Pickett start against the Raiders?
Early reports seem to suggest that Kenny Pickett will be out of concussion protocol and ready to start against the Raiders on Christmas eve. The rookie quarterback will no doubt provide a boost for the Steelers going into a tricky rivalry game.
Who will Raiders be targeting in the 2023 NFL Draft?
With four games left to go [clicktweak.net] in a less than impressive season, there's no doubt the organization will already be turning to the draft to see how they can improve. With so many gaps to fill though, where do they start?
A lot relies on how the Derek Carr situation is resolved. If this is indeed his last season playing for the Raiders, it may be a possibility that the Raiders go looking for a new signal caller in the draft. However, some analysts suggest it may be worth waiting another year to fill that need.
Here's a few names the Raiders may consider in the upcoming draft:
Hendon Hooker QB
The Tennessee QB is not considered one of the top quarterbacks in this draft, with other players seemingly possessing a more exciting upside.
However, that shouldn't turn the Raiders off giving the volunteers QB a shot in the second round.
A lot of this depends on how the Carr situation is resolved, but if they do go into the draft looking for a QB - they could do a lot worse.
His recent ACL tear means he will have to sit out his first season anyway, giving time for the Raiders to transition smoothly from Derek Carr into a new era.
Peter Skoronski OT
The northwestern offensive lineman instantly improves a disastrous Raiders offensive line, even with concerns about his arm length.
It remains to be seen whether his future is at guard or tackle, but either way there's no doubt he'll be instantly beneficial to a Vegas rebuild.
Fantasy Football Spotlight: Who's Projected Big for Raiders vs. Steelers?
Here's the Raiders and Steelers players you may consider starting in your fantasy match up's this week.
After being shutdown by the Pats last game, Davante Adams will be looking to make a significant impact this week against the Steelers, projecting as the third highest scoring wide receiver for week 16 after Justin Jefferson and Tyreek Hill.
Most people would have given you funny looks at the start of this year if you'd said that Jacobs would end up being one of the Raiders most important offensive players, but here we are. Although Steelers can be stingy against the run, expect Jacobs to find a way anyway - like he's been doing all year.
Steelers number one wide receiver faces a middling pass defense that's capable of giving up a ton of pass yards. Johnson will want to continue his excellent form from last week against the Panthers, and this match up against the Raiders represents a perfect opportunity to do so.
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Raiders vs Steelers Promises Christmas Eve Fun, if Nothing Else
We get it, it's hardly a match up of much consequence for the league. In fact, if you aren't a Raiders or a Steelers fan, we doubt you even know that this game is on the week 16 slate [clicktweak.net].
That doesn't mean it won't be a fun game to watch, though. The weather looks set to be historically cold, with lows of almost 4 degrees and snow on the ground. This is a game that's going to be fought in the trenches.
It's a perfect tribute to the Raiders and Steelers rivalry of yesteryear. Although there's no significance beyond very tenuous play off possibilities for the Steelers, you can bet the players won't care much - they'll just want the W.
So, get ready for some cold, snowy, brutal Christmas eve football - and perhaps a casual reminder of the giants these two teams once were.