When the 2015 NFL schedule was released, fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers likely looked at a three-game home stand in the middle of the schedule as a nice respite from the most difficult schedule in the league. Nonetheless, after a deflating loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the first leg of the three-game stretch, the Steelers are 4-4 and trying to keep pace with other teams vying for a spot in the AFC Playoffs.
One of those teams ahead of the Steelers are the 4-3 Oakland Raiders, the same team who is traveling to Heinz Field in Week 9 to play Pittsburgh at Heinz Field. What many thought would be an easy win for the black and gold at home has turned into a huge AFC showdown.
The Raiders, lead by Derek Carr and Amani Cooper, come to Pittsburgh after a big home win against the New York Jets, while the Steelers look to re-gain their swagger with Ben Roethlisberger, Heath Miller, DeAngelo Williams, Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant wanting to avenge the loss of Le'Veon Bell by putting a solid performance on the field.
The Steelers are favored by 4.5-points, but who do the experts like in this contest? Time to take a look.
At CBSSports.com, they are favoring the Steelers heavily as 6 of their 8 experts who select winners weekly think the black and gold will end their losing streak this Sunday. The same can be said about the experts at ESPN. Only one of their experts on their large panel think the Raiders have a chance to travel across the country and beat Pittsburgh in their house.
Here at SB Nation, it was a similar story in regards to who the experts like in this matchup. Only one expert likes the Raiders to win, the rest favoring Pittsburgh. If you are looking for a site with a bit more support for Oakland, FOXSports is for you. 3 of the 7 experts on their panel think the Raiders are going to stay hot and beat the Steelers and distance themselves from the pack in the AFC Playoff race.
At NFL Pick Watch, a website which takes all expert picks and calculates them into one convenient website, they have 82-percent of the experts who make weekly picks taking the Steelers in this Week 9 game.
The Steelers are favored in the odds, and the experts like them to win as well, but there is a reason they play the game. The Steelers can make a statement on Sunday at Heinz Field, or fall further into mediocrity with a loss.