In week 11, the Oakland Raiders will travel to Heinz Field to go to war against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Raiders aren't going to travel 2264 miles to lose.
They have had too much success in the past couple of weeks. They can see, smell, and taste their first playoff berth since 2003.
Against a distraught Steelers team, the blazing black and silver will be able to pull out the victory.
Here are seven reasons why the Oakland Raiders will pull the upset against the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday at their own house:
Darren McFadden is having his best season in the NFL by far.
The Raiders are second in the NFL in rushing behind his 757 yards with 5.4 yards a pop.
Despite the great rushing attack, the Steelers dominant front seven will shut it down. Pittsburgh has only allowed 63.2 yards a game on the ground. The longest run on them all season was 17 yards.
McFadden is so important in this game because he can also contribute though the air. He is second on the team in receptions.
He has the speed to take it to the house at any time and the Steelers will be forced to game plan around that explosive game breaking ability.
Shaun Suisham doesn't have the familiarity with the Heinz Field winds that Jeff Reed had. As the western Pennsylvania weather takes a turn for the worse in late November, the kicking game will become much less reliable.
Sebastian Janikowski isn't the most accurate kicker in the world, but he probably has the strongest leg in league history. The wind won't be able to affect his kicks as much as Suisham's giving Oakland an advantage that could really come into play in the late minutes of the game.
The Raiders were given a favorable bye week this season.
Teams prefer byes in the middle of the year, not too early, not too late. A week 10 bye comes just in time to prepare the Raiders for their playoff push.
Their battered players have been given two weeks of rest. They will be full of energy traveling to Heinz Field Sunday.
Also, they were given two weeks to prepare, and an extra week to prepare always comes in handy against a strong franchise like the Steelers.
Oakland's offensive coordinator Hue Jackson has a lot of experience in facing the Steelers defense.
From 2004-2006 he coached the receivers for the Cincinnati Bengals. From 2008-2009 he was the quarterbacks coach for the Baltimore Ravens.
There's no doubt that little extra familiarity will aid Jackson and the Raiders offense attack against the Steelers defense.
The New England Patriots lit up the Steelers shaky pass defense last week as Tom Brady threw for 350 yards and three touchdowns.
The Oakland Raiders don't have the passing game that the Patriots do, but they've had success against this Steelers secondary in the past.
Last season, Bruce Gradkowski threw for 308 yards along with three fourth quarter touchdowns. With a more developed Louis Murphy, an emerged Zack Miller, and the addition of rookie Jacoby Ford, the Raiders will arguably have better weapons going into this year’s contest despite the possibility of not having Chaz Schilens and Darrius Heyward-Bey.
The Steelers don’t have too many receiving threats to begin with. Hines Ward and Mike Wallace are pretty much the only wide outs defenses are forced to game plan on stopping.
Nnamdi Asomugha automatically cancels out one of the two, whoever the Raiders believe is the biggest threat. That will most likely be home run threat Mike Wallace.
The rest of the defense will be free to key on Ward and tight end Heath Miller without any other legitimate threat.
The Raiders boast the second best pass defense in the league this season surrendering only 184.8 yards per game.
The Raiders are the hottest team in the NFL winning three straight games by a combined total of 78 points.
On the flip side, the Steelers have lost two out of their last three games (three out of four if you include the Miami game).
They will come into Pittsburgh a very confident team.
If you play the Steelers intimidated, their fierce pass rush will destroy you. If you play them with confidence as Drew Brees and Tom Brady have displayed in recent weeks, their secondary can be exposed.
The Raiders are hot, confident, and maybe most of all, hungry.
They have the worst record in the NFL since 2003. Veterans on that team have patiently waited for change, a change that will bring success.
The Raiders are 5-4 and have the opportunity to really put itself in position to make the playoffs. Those veterans know this chance may not come around again, and they won't let it slip from their grasp.