The Pittsburgh Steelers will return to Acrisure Stadium to face the Las Vegas Raiders. This game has no shortage of headlines or historical significance, as the franchise will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception shortly after the tragic death of Hall Of Fame running back Franco Harris.
The Steelers have very slim playoff odds, which Fivethirtyeight projects at 0.5%. They will face a well-rounded Las Vegas Raiders team that has a marginally higher 6% chance in the playoffs. As such, here are five numbers to look for when watching the upcoming Week 16 matchup on Saturday night.
1,050. After having the team decline his fifth-year option, Raiders’ running back Josh Jacobs is having himself a season. He currently has 1,050 yards after contact according to PFF, which ranks second in the league only behind Derrick Henry. The Raiders rank 15th in yards before contact per run, but rank first on yards after contact per run. Jacobs’ 92.9 is the highest in the league, and he will certainly be a challenge for the Pittsburgh run defense.
6. Steelers’ defensive coordinator Teryl Austin recently delved into how well-rounded the Raiders’ offense is. This is indeed the case, as they are one of six teams that rank in the top 15 in both passing and rushing yards. They have a prolific run game, which ranks fifth place in yards per attempt with 5.0, and in the top 15 in yards despite having the ninth lowest carries. Given the likely cold weather, this figures to be a run-heavy game plan for the Raiders.
13. Steelers’ rookie receiver George Pickens is quietly becoming one of the league’s best deep threats. According to PFF, his 13 receptions on throws over 20 air yards ranks third in the league. He is tied for fourth in deep targets with 24, and ranks fifth with 390 yards on said throws.
14.61. The Steelers’ pass defense currently allows 14.61 yards per catch against opposing wide receivers, which is the highest mark in the NFL. They also struggle with giving up big plays, as they are tied for first at 3.14 catches of over 20 yards allowed to receivers per game. The team’s talent at the corner position leaves a bit to be desired, which will be a problem against the Raiders’ top receiver Davante Adams, who leads the NFL in deep targets according to PFF.
11. After tying a Tomlin-era record with 45 rush attempts, the Pittsburgh Steelers rank 11th in rush attempts per game with 28.2. This is the highest they have ranked in rush attempts since 2010. Through the last three games, they have attempted 34 runs per game, which is the fourth highest mark in that span. Granted, the Raiders have a solid run defense, which ranks third in EPA per run play according to RBSDM. Nevertheless, expect a run-heavy game plan from Pittsburgh, especially given the weather conditions.