Despite putting together back-to-back wins after an 0-4 start, the Pittsburgh Steelers still sit nestled at that bottom of the AFC North as they head into week eight. Sunday, they must beat a 2-4 Oakland Raiders team coming off their bye week on the road in order to keep their improbable playoff hopes alive. If they don't, the previous two wins will really become meaningless.
Winning on the road against the Raiders has been a chore for the Steelers over the years, however. Including all post season meetings, the Steelers are 4-9 all-time when facing the Silver and Black on the road in either Oakland or Los Angeles.
While this stat might be perceived by many as meaningless, the Raiders haven't won a game following their bye week dating back to 2002. Head coach Dennis Allen was asked about that losing streak Monday during his talk with the media and he answered the question perfectly.
"I think we’re all aware of that, but like I told the players today, the past has no relevance to the future," said Allen. "Any of the outcomes that have happened after a bye in the past won’t dictate how we go out and play against Pittsburgh. What’s going to dictate how we go out and play against Pittsburgh is how well we prepare during the week, and then how well do we go out and execute that plan on Sunday."
One thing that might play in the favor for the Steelers this coming Sunday is the health of the Raiders offensive line as it has been ravaged by injuries. With that being said, the Steelers defense couldn't manhandle a makeshift San Diego Chargers offensive line last year at home.
Speaking of last year, the Steelers also lost to Raiders team that was without several key members of their secondary in week three.
As much as Sunday is a must-win for the Steelers, the same goes for the Raiders as their season will be all but over should they lose. They have had an extra week to prepare for the Steelers and that will be helpful for their young quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who was sacked nine times by the Kansas City Chiefs in his last game.
The past in football indeed has no relevance to the future, but should the Steelers look past this upcoming game against the Raiders, there will most certainly not be any playoffs this year in their future.
Late Raiders owner Al Davis always used to say, "Just win, baby." In the case of these 2-4 Steelers, it's more like, must win, baby.