Steelers vs. Raiders: Madden simulation predicts wild ending to a defensive battle

Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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Every week through the Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 season, I'll run a simulation on EA Sports Madden NFL 24 for the Steelers opponent for that week.

The structure of the sim is rather straightforward. I'll allow the CPU to play the game against itself to allow for a more authentic simulation. Six-minute quarters, with the weather as close to the forecast as possible. I won't pick up the controller to aid the Steelers in any way.

The simulation will run with Madden's most up-to-date rosters. I will only take out an injured player not yet recognized by Madden if they are confirmed to be out for the game.

Looking to break .500 positively in Week 3, the Pittsburgh Steelers head to the desert for a Sunday night matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders. Here's how Madden NFL 24 sees the contest shaking out.

The Sim Steelers Start To Mirror Reality

On an early third and nine, Pickett escaped the pocket, outrunning Tyree Wilson for a 21-yard gain to get the Steelers moving. After missing his first three throws, Pickett found Darnell Washington for a 16-yard gain on 3rd and 10. He followed that up with an 18-yard pass to Calvin Austin III. A Najee Harris reception on the next play got Pittsburgh into the red zone. Harris got the give three plays later and opened the scoring up with a three-yard touchdown.

The sim Steelers offense continues to impress in ways the real-life version can’t. But it doesn't last for long.

Las Vegas struggled to get much going on their opening drive. Jimmy Garoppolo found Davante Adams on a 10-yard pass on 3rd down but punted after failing to pick up another conversion.

Harris got two handoffs totaling over 25 yards to close out the first quarter. A mixture of Harris runs and Pickett scrambles dominate the drive, but Pickett missed both of his passes. Chris Boswell lined up for a 50+ yard field goal but missed it wide right.

The Raiders go three and out quickly, as Garoppolo nearly threw a pick to Kwon Alexander. The momentum stagnated, though still in Pittsburgh’s favor.

On the following drive, Pickett scrambled on a 3rd and five but tested his luck by not sliding after he made the conversion. He fumbled as a result and Tyree Wilson was there to give the Raiders the first turnover of the game.

A few plays later Las Vegas got into the red zone on Adams’s second reception. His third on the next play inside the 2-minute warning got the Raiders inside the 10. His third consecutive reception on the drive was a touchdown over Levi Wallace. The Raiders tied the game at seven off the turnover.

Pittsburgh takes over with 44 seconds left at the 29-yard line and very little success throwing the football. The Steelers were aggressive though, and Pickett was looking for Pickens to make the big play. He found him for the first time on second down for 11 yards. It was Pickett’s only completion on the drive as the first half clock expired with a tie still on the board.