Fresh off their bye week, the Oakland Raiders get set to host the Pittsburgh Steelers at O.Co Coliseum. By now I’m sure you know of the Raiders futility coming out of the week off, losing 10 straight. The Raiders hope to bounce back after their last game, a loss at Kansas City. Both teams are pretty evenly matched, as both Defenses are giving up 22 points a game and both Offenses are scoring almost 18 points a game. Lets take a look at 5 things to watch for in their matchup with the 2-4 Steelers, who are coming off back to back wins at the Jets and against Baltimore.
I think we are all waiting to see how TP2 bounces back from his meltdown in KC. When things break down, will he throw the ball away and go to the next down? If the Raiders get behind, will he force it and turn the ball over? If the offense sputters, will he get frustrated then crash and burn in bad decisions?
Even before DMC tweaked his hamstring, he didn’t seem like the guy who used to come off the ball like he was shot out of a cannon. TP2 likes to call him his Robin to his Batman, but all he’s been robin, is the Raiders fans who pay to see him make big plays. I really don’t know what more to say about DMC, other then, remember how well Marcel Reece ran the ball when he was given the reins to the running game last year? Hopefully the Raiders can get the running backs loose and help out their QB, so he doesn’t feel the need to do it all himself.
This is a M.A.S.H. unit, no doubt. There was virtually no activity via workouts during the bye week looking to help this group. Monday at practice, they ran out the same starting 5 that got man handled by the Chiefs. Until practice on Wednesday, we won’t get a real sense of who will be able to go against the Steelers. Pitts D is tied for 8th in the NFL with 3.7 yards per carry allowed, 4th in passing yards per game allowed at 197.5 and 31st with only 8 sacks. So whoever gets the start, needs to execute and be physical in order for this offense to have success.
The Raiders Defensive line has been the consistent bright spot this year so far. They are facing an offensive line that has struggled. Pittsburgh is averaging only 74 yards a game on the ground and scored only 2 rushing touchdowns. All while surrendering 22 sacks, which is tied for 7th most in the NFL The Raiders Defensive line has a chance to dominate this game and help the Raiders put up their first shut out of the season.
Per Greg Pappa, Big Ben has never left Oakland with a win. Based on the Steelers run game and the Raiders run defense, any points they hope to score, will have to come off Bens arm. The Raiders Defense have had success getting to the QB, but some trouble actually getting him down. Big Ben is a master at shaking off would be sackers and making big impromptu plays. He could end up winning the game on such a play if the Raiders let him out of their grasp.