While the Pittsburgh Steelers returned from the bye-week

 in
convincing fashion Youth
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, the same cannot for said about the BTSC staff
picks. As bad as Jeff Hartman’s selection after going 8-5 against the spread and
6-7 versus the totals, my picks were even worse at 7-6 ATS and 5-8 versus the
totals. If we were depended upon our winning bets to live, we would clearly both
starve. Having seen five games split by a spread of more than 8-points last
Sunday, only three games feature a line higher than 6.5-points in Week 9. A
number of expected close contests has six games showing a spread of three points
or less and there are several road teams that look good value to win their
matchups this weekend.Pittsburgh maintained their position at the top of the AFC
North with a convincing win over the Cleveland Browns and gained some daylight
over the Baltimore Ravens after they lost to the Carolina Panthers. If the
Steelers cannot take care of business against the Ravens (-3) at M&T Bank
Stadium in their rematch, the Cincinnati Bengals on a bye-week would take the
lead in the division once again and Baltimore would pull within half a game of
Pittsburgh. Selections have been made using the consensus Las Vegas odds from
VegasInsider.com as per Friday night and we encourage you to play along with us
by adding your picks below. Joe Mixon had one of the best games of his career in
yet another Bengals loss 鈥?making it seven of their past eight, and counting. He
sees no reason to slow down even as another season slips away in
Cincinnati."Right now, we are down but we ain't out, so that's how I'm
approaching it," the second-year running back said. "I'm going to approach it
like we're in."Technically, the last-place Bengals (5-8) aren't eliminated from
playoff contention despite their third-longest losing streak in coach Marvin
Lewis' 16 seasons. They could still get the AFC North title if they win out and
the Steelers, Ravens and Browns all fall apart the rest of the way.A loss Sunday
to the Raiders (3-10) would eliminate the pretense and leave Cincinnati with a
third straight losing season and a lot of big questions to address in the
offseason: Does Lewis stay? Who's the next defensive coordinator? Will anything
really change so long as Mike Brown runs the franchise?By contrast http://www.steelersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-antonio-brown-jersey ,
the Raiders are already in next-year mode. Following a 24-21 win over the
Steelers , they fired general manager Reggie McKenzie and launched into a
front-office reshuffle in preparation for coach Jon Gruden's second season back
with the Raiders.They don't have a general manager and they're not sure where
they'll be playing next season before moving to Las Vegas in 2020, but all
that's for later. First, they have to finish a season in flux."When you get
here, it's just rainbows and butterflies because you made it to the NFL,"
quarterback Derek Carr said. "All of a sudden, you get new friends every year. I
think I've counted I've had like 27 different people in the locker next to me in
five years. It just shows you how tough this business is."Some things to watch
Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium:STRIKE THE BALANCECarr has found a comfort zone in
Gruden's offense. He began the season overly aggressive, throwing eight
interceptions in the first five games. Then he got overly cautious, failing to
complete a pass of more than 10 yards twice in a span of three games.He's
finally gotten a balance.Carr has gone a franchise-record eight straight games
without an interception and has regained his deep touch. He completed nine
passes that traveled at least 15 yards downfield the past two games against
Kansas City and Pittsburgh, equaling his total from his previous six games
combined. Now he's facing the NFL's worst defense."I feel more confident in our
system," Carr said. "I feel like my reads are quicker. I feel like I can get
through things and eliminate things faster. That feels better."RAIDERS BANGED-UP
O-LINEThe Raiders come into the game with major questions on the offensive line.
Starting left tackle Kelechi Osemele missed last week's game with a toe injury.
Starting right tackle Gabe Jackson is dealing with an elbow injury.Backup Jon
Feliciano was placed on injured reserve with a calf injury Stephon
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, leaving Chaz Green and Denver Kirkland as potential
options against Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap and the rest of the Bengals."I know
that both of them are as tough as they come and if there's a will, there's a
way," Gruden said. "They have the will, I know that. We'll just hope for the
best."GUENTHER'S RETURNPaul Guenther left Cincinnati after 13 years on Lewis'
staff, including the last four as defensive coordinator, to join Gruden's staff.
He knows the Bengals' offense, which is struggling mightily with quarterback
Andy Dalton and receiver A.J. Green out for the season because of
injuries.Guenther also is very familiar with Jeff Driskel, who makes his third
NFL start in Dalton's place. The Bengals expect Guenther to try to disguise
blitzes and coverages to throw off Driskel."I know whenever you're going against
a quarterback who hasn't played much, as a defense you're always looking forward
to it," Bengals linebacker Vincent Rey said.TURNING MIXON LOOSEMixon had a
career-high 26 carries for 111 yards during a 26-21 loss to the Chargers in Los
Angeles. He also caught a team-high five passes Authentic
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, becoming the focal point of Cincinnati's
depleted offense. The Bengals plan to lean on him heavily in the final three
games. The Raiders know he's the one to stop."Man, he's good," Gruden said.
"He's a great slash. He can stop and start. He has power. He's a good receiver.
He's a good blitz pickup guy. He's putting it together in Cincinnati."WILL
ANYBODY WATCH?A small crowd is expected for the Bengals' final home game.
They've gone 3-4 at Paul Brown Stadium before some of the smallest crowds in its
history. Their average of 51,673 is the second-smallest attendance since the
65,535-seat stadium opened in 2000.AP Pro Football Writer Josh Dubow in Alameda,
California, contributed to this report. Clearance NFL Jerseys
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