Raiders vs Steelers Week 2 Picks and Predictions: Can Vegas Handle Steelers' Pressure?

Vegas is banged-up and playing on a short week, not exactly ideal heading into a matchup with Pittsburgh's fearsome defense. Find out if the road team can muster a cover, or if our Raiders vs Steelers picks favor the home squad at Heinz.

Last Updated: Sep 15, 2021 12:54 PM ET Read Time: 5 min
T.J. Watt Pittsburgh Steelers NFL
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The Las Vegas Raiders trade the bright lights of Sin City for the unforgiving turf of Heinz Field in a Steel City showdown with the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2.

The NFL betting odds originally had Las Vegas as big as +6.5 for this cross-country 1 p.m. ET kickoff but an OT shocker over Baltimore on Monday has slimmed the Raiders as low as +5.5.

Pittsburgh flexed its defensive muscle in an upset over Buffalo last Sunday and now sets its sights on a banged-up Vegas side on a short week. Here are our free NFL picks and predictions for Raiders at Steelers on September 19.

Raiders vs Steelers odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

This game has seen three different odds sets. First, the lookahead line set in the spring had Pittsburgh pegged as 6-point home chalk. Then the official Week 2 opener – set before the Monday finale – had the Steelers installed as 6.5-point favorites, which was then pulled off the board before the Raiders tangled with the Ravens. Upon reopening early Tuesday morning, books hung the home side -5.5 and some books have quickly dipped to -5 before taking instant action on Pittsburgh. 

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full NFL odds before placing your bets.

Raiders vs Steelers picks

Picks made on 9/15/2021 at 11:20 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Raiders vs Steelers game info

Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
Date: Sunday, September 19, 2021
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

Raiders at Steelers betting preview


Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our NFL weather info.

Key injuries

Raiders: Josh Jacobs RB (Out), Denzelle Good G (Out), Richie Incognito G (Out), Roderic Teamer S (Out), Nick Kwiatkoski LB (Out).
Steelers: Devin Bush LB (Out), Joe Haden CB (Out), Carlos Davis DT (Out).
Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Raiders are 7-17 ATS in their last 24 games following a win. Find more NFL betting trends for Raiders vs. Steelers.

Raiders vs Steelers predictions

It wasn’t the prettiest win for the Steelers in Orchard Park, but it certainly showcased just how disruptive this Pittsburgh defense can be. The stop unit handcuffed one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL, led by newly-rich pass rush god T.J. Watt. 

Watt finished the 23-16 Week 1 win with two sacks and five QB hits, and now turns his attention to a Las Vegas offensive line that was shaky heading into 2021 and is even more porous with the loss of guard Denzelle Good (knee) for the season. That compounds the injury to veteran Richie Incognito, who missed Week 1 with a calf injury and is questionable for Sunday.

Raiders QB Derek Carr was sacked three times by Baltimore on Monday night, with the Ravens posting a hurry percentage of 9.8 percent – the eighth highest in Week 1. The Steelers, on the other hand, owned a hurry rate of 20 percent (second highest in Week 1) and blitzed just 1.8 percent of the time, getting a massive push up front with just the defensive line, mixing four and three-man fronts.

As for the Steelers offense, this will be the second full-speed attempt for the first-teamers in Matt Canada’s playbook. Pittsburgh’s offense sputtered out of the gate against Buffalo, but Ben Roethlisberger made key throws down the stretch to help ice the Week 1 win.

This Oakland defense under new coordinator Gus Bradley protects against the deep strike but could be susceptible to shorter, quicker attacks, like the Steelers. Baltimore limped into Sin City with an empty rushing corps, but still hung 27 points and 406 yards on Las Vegas. 

Roethlisberger struggled on third downs in Week 1 – going 4 for 12 – but a return home will help this offense, as will some injuries to the Raiders defense, namely pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue, who had a strong game in Week 1 before suffering a hamstring injury.

The Pittsburgh -5 spreads have dried up, but getting the Steelers below the key number of six at -5.5 is vital, especially before injury updates come out later in the week.

Las Vegas was able to post seven passing plays of 20 or more yards in Week 1 – the most of any team in the openers. But with those injury woes on the offensive line and the Steelers pass rush coming for Carr’s head, the Raiders won’t have time in the pocket for those home runs to develop.

Expect the playbook to shorten up for Vegas, and in order to keep Pittsburgh’s pass rushers honest, there will need to be some sort of legitimate ground game. The Silver and Black handed off only 21 times on Monday, picking up 3.9 yards per carry.

The Steelers dink-and-dump offense controlled the football for just 26:43 of TOP in Week 1 with the offensive line ranking among the lowest in the league in run block metrics. Rookie RB Najee Harris got plenty of touches early on but disappeared in the second half outside of a key 18-yard run in the fourth quarter.

This offense is not the high-flying Pittsburgh attack of years past and Roethlisberger posted a mere 190 intended air yards in Week 1 – just under six air yards per attempt. I do predict a better effort on the ground and on third downs, helping the Steelers control the clock and possession.

Stay tuned for a player prop pick, coming soon when markets are live!

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