The 2022 regular season is full swing, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 16. While the Steelers get ready for their latest home game of the season, it is time for the BTSC staff to put on their prognostication hats and guess the winner of the contest.
Who will get closest? We will be keeping tabs, so let’s get the picks. Check out the staff picks below:
The weather in this game has me thinking the score will be low, but not a 6-3 type game. There will be a lot of emotion in this game for a lot of reasons, and in the Mike Tomlin era his teams typically play well when there is an “event” taking place. Whether it’s a reunion of a legendary team, someone getting their Hall of Fame ring, or, in this instance, a jersey retirement. The Steelers will have plenty of motivation, and I think it pays off as they pull out a low scoring, narrow victory.
Pick: Steelers 20, Raiders 17
I see the Steelers playing inspired football and overcoming the weather elements in this one. If they could get multiple takeaways, I could see this game possibly getting out of hand. But it’s the Raiders, and the Steelers have ultimately struggled with them in recent years. For that reason I think it’s a closer game, but the Steelers find a way to find victory for all Steelers’ Nation in honor of the legendary Franco Harris.
Pick: Steelers 24, Raiders 17
Bryan Anthony Davis
The Raiders are dangerouus, But raw emotion and raw cold temperatures are going to come in to play here, I always am on the higher end as far as scoring goes, but I am predicting a last second win just like 5o years and one day ago. The score will be the same as the Steelers huge wins over the Raiders in 1972 and 1984.
Pick: Steelers 13, Raiders 7
This is a difficult game to call. The sudden passing of Franco Harris creates a variable that could swing things in either team’s favor. The combination of Franco’s passing, his jersey retirement ceremony, the Immaculate Reception commemoration, a prime time game on Christmas Eve and the presence of dozens of Steelers’ alumni in the building will make for a charged environment. Will the Steelers use that emotion to play inspired football against a Raiders team that could be walking into a buzz saw? Or will there be too many distractions for Pittsburgh to stay focused on beating an opponent who has won four of five games and is riding high after its own miraculous finish against New England last week? I don’t know. It’s really hard to say.
MY job here is to make a prediction, however, so let’s get to it. The Raiders have played seven straight games that have ended in a difference of six points or less, so odds are this will be a nail-biter. Franco looking down just might make the difference.
Pick: Steelers 26, Raiders 24
This is the game for all the people who said Kenny Pickett’s small hands would cause him to not play well in cold weather. And all the people that say he can’t throw in windy conditions. It’s the perfect test of both, and will be something to watch. The Raiders have two things on offense the Steelers struggle with, a really good running back and a true #1 receiver. The Raiders offense is one of the best in the NFL, at least in the first half, when they rank 4th in the NFL in scoring percentage. Of course, they are also one of the worst teams in the NFL late in games
The Steelers need to start strong, and not let the Raiders get a big lead. I think they pull it off and win this one in close game.
Pick: Steelers 23, Raiders 20
Rich Schofield (Big Bro Scho)
I am exercising my right to change my prediction from the one I made on The Scho Bro Show on Tuesday night, not in who will win but the score. I haven’t seen an updated injury report, and I haven’t gotten any inside information on the weather being even more difficult than what they’ve been calling for. What has happened is that Franco Harris has passed on just days before being honored for the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception as well as having the Steelers retire his number. If that doesn’t get the fanbase emotional and players riled up enough to just go out and put an absolute shellacking on the Raiders in Franco’s memory then I don’t know what could inspire them. Between the frigid weather and the loss of Franco I don’t see any way the Raiders escape the Burgh with a win.
Pick: Steelers 27, Raiders 14
In all honesty, I would normally predict a Raiders victory in this contest, based solely on their previous history of success against the Steelers. Overall records for both teams have seemingly been meaningless in recent meetings, with the Raiders faithfully rising to the occasion every time they have faced their hated rivals. Both teams enter this game with 6-8 records, and have been playing better football in recent weeks. One team will emerge victorious, and keep their faint playoff dreams alive for one more week. The other will be forced to accept reality immediately after. Motivation matters, and the circumstances favor the Steelers in this game. The Steelers play inspired football in Franco's memory. I stick with my Know Your Enemy podcast prediction.
Pick: Steelers 20, Raiders 17
I originally picked the Raiders in this matchup in my rest-of-season predictions article at the bye week, but some notable developments have taken place since then that will affect this football game. Much will be said about winning for Franco, and I do think that will play a part in the Steelers will to win. But on the field, the Steelers improved rushing attack is leading the way for a, dare I say, efficient offense that moves the ball well. This bodes ill for Vegas, who’s defense isn’t particularly good in any facet other than rushing the passer. If the Steelers can ride Harris and Warren at a successful clip, they should be able to minimize Maxx Crosby and co and shorten the game in the cold. I expect the Steelers run D to look somewhere between Baltimore and Carolina, but that should be just enough for a W on an icy day in Pittsburgh.
Pick: Steelers 20, Raiders 19
The Steelers continue their trend of facing off against subpar football teams on Saturday night. While Las Vegas boasts offensive playmakers in Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs, Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow, its offensive line has been patchwork, with left tackle Kolton Miller the lone consistent performer. Moreover, the Raiders’ defense ranks 32nd in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, which bodes well for a Pittsburgh offense that has hit its stride since the bye. Stopping Adams and Jacobs altogether is nearly impossible, but I think the Steelers will their way to victory on a night celebrating the incomparable Franco Harris.
Pick: Steelers 23, Raiders 16
Kyle Chrise (What Yinz Talkin’ Bout)
Every year, the Steelers suffer through some weird games, and this has all the vibes of being the weirdest. Christmas Eve, on prime time, in sub-zero weather, under emotional duress, with a winning season on the line. Add in the possibility of an undersold stadium, and I could see all the Christmas ghosts haunting Acrisure Stadium. Look for big plays called back by penalties, yellow and red flags in the end zones, unforced errors, unpredictable turnovers, special teams anomalies, confusion in the broadcast booth, ineffective “Renegades,” and a partridge in a pear tree.
Pick: Steelers 24, Oakland 21 (OT)
This feels like it's supposed to be a Steelers victory, and that's especially the case after the sudden passing of Franco Harris, the man everyone was going to honor for his great career and starring role in the greatest play in the history of the NFL.
The weather is supposed to be wickedly cold. That should give Pittsburgh an edge, but I don't know how anyone from any climate could thrive in such cold conditions. I do think emotion will give the Steelers an edge, however.
Pick: Steelers 24, Raiders 10
What is your prediction? Let us know in the comment section below, and feel free to tell the contributors above why they are dead wrong, or spot on!