The Raiders host the Steelers in Oakland for the first time since 2006. AP Photo.
THIS WEEK’S NOTABLE STORYLINES:
- The Raiders host the Pittsburgh Steelers in a Week 3 contest at O.co Coliseum this weekend.
- Sunday’s game will feature the two youngest head coaches in the NFL, Oakland’s Dennis Allen and Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin. Allen is the NFL’s youngest coach at 39 years of age, while Tomlin turned 40 years old in March. Allen will turn 40 on the day before the game, Saturday.
- The contest will mark just the third time that the Steelers have visited Oakland since the Raiders returned to Northern California in 1995.
- The Raiders and Steelers will be renewing one of the storied rivalries in NFL history on Sunday. The two teams met in the playoffs for five consecutive years from 1972-76.
- Five current Raiders have ties to the Pittsburgh area. LS
Jon Condo, OL Lucas Nix, QB Terrelle Pryor, CB Shawntae Spencerand C/G Stefen Wisniewskiall went to high school in or around Pittsburgh.
Carson Palmer, who spent eight seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, will be facing the Steelers for the 13th time in the regular season.
- Oakland and Pittsburgh are two of the most successful franchises in NFL history. The Steelers rank second among NFL franchises between 1963-2011 with a 422-316-8 (.572) record, while the Raiders rank fourth among league teams during that same period with a mark of 417-318-11 (.567).
RAIDERS HOST PITTSBURGH: The Raiders host the Pittsburgh Steelers at O.co Coliseum Sunday, looking to post the team’s first victory of the 2012 campaign. The Steelers enter the Week 3 contest with a 1-1 record and Sunday’s game will mark Pittsburgh’s first visit to Oakland since the 2006 season.
THE SERIES: The Raiders and Steelers will be renewing one of the most storied rivalries in NFL history this weekend. The Raiders hold a slim 10-9 advantage in the all-time regular-season season since the two franchises first met in 1970. The Raiders and Steelers have also squared off six times in the postseason, with each team claiming three victories. The two teams met in the playoffs for five straight years from 1972-76, with three of those meetings taking place in the AFC Championship game. The regular-season series has been evenly matched in recent years, as the two have split their last six games.
YOUTH IN CHARGE: Sunday’s game will feature the two youngest coaches in the National Football League in the Raiders’ Dennis Allen and the Steelers Mike Tomlin. Only six months separate Allen (Sept. 22, 1972) and Tomlin (March 15, 1972) in age. Allen, who turns 40 on Saturday, is currently the youngest coach in the NFL.
WINNING WAYS: The Raiders and Steelers are among the elite teams in the NFL, ranking among the top four from 1963-2011 in winning percentage. The Raiders rank fourth with a .567 percentage since Al Davis was named head coach and general manager in 1963, trailing only the Dallas Cowboys, Steelers and the Miami Dolphins.
THE PITTSBURGH FIVE: Five current Raiders are from Western Pennsylvania, a hotbed for football talent. The five players from Pennsylvania marks the second-largest group from a state on the Raiders’ roster, trailing only California (15).
- Jon Condo LS Phillipsburg, Pa. Maryland
- Lucas Nix OL Jefferson Hills, Pa. Pittsburgh
- Terrelle Pryor QB Jeanette, Pa. Ohio State
- Shawntae Spencer CB Pittsburgh, Pa. Pittsburgh
- Stefen Wisniewski C/G Pittsburgh, Pa. Penn State
INDIVIDUAL HIGHLIGHTS vs. PITTSBURGH: S
PALMER vs. PITTSBURGH: QB Carson Palmer spent eight seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, AFC North division rivals of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Palmer has faced the Steelers 12 times in the regular season during his career, and once in the postseason. The Raiders’ signal-caller has completed 234-of-410 pass attempts for 2,402 yards and 17 touchdowns against Pittsburgh in regular-season action.
KNAPP ZBS = SUCCESS: Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Knapp has had great success with the zone-blocking scheme since first adopting it as offensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons in 2004. Knapp’s offense in Atlanta averaged 169.9 yards on the ground over three seasons and his 2005 unit led the NFL in rushing with 159.1 yards per game. In 2004, the Falcons averaged 167 yards per game while advancing to the NFC Championship game. In 2007 with the Raiders, the Silver and Black ranked sixth in the NFL in rushing with 130.4 yards per game and produced a 1,000- yard rusher for just the second time in seven seasons. During his time with the Texans, the Houston offense featured the NFL’s leading rusher in Arian Foster (1,616) in 2010, and ranked second in the league with 153 rushing yards per game during the 2011 season.
WELCOME BACK: The Raiders and Steelers have not met in Oakland since the 2006 season, which marks the fourth-longest active stretch between home games against an AFC opponent for the Silver and Black. Jacksonville and Tennessee have not played in Oakland since 2004 and Buffalo has not visited O.co Coliseum since the 2005 season. Sunday’s game will mark just the third time that Pittsburgh has played in Oakland since the Raiders returned to Northern California in 1995.
MYERS WITH THE GRAB: TE Brandon Myers has emerged as a favorite target of QB Carson Palmer early this season, as the fourth-year player leads all Raiders tight ends and receivers with 11 catches for 151 yards. Myers is averaging 13.7 yards per reception and has posted a pair of catches of 20 yards or more, including a career-long 26-yard grab in the season opener against San Diego. Myers’ 151 receiving yards already matches his entire receiving yardage output from last season.