Oakland Raiders @ Steelers: Five Keys to Victory

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Nov 1, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray (28) runs the ball against the New York Jets in the third quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Jets 34-20. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

2. Get Murray his Carries

This is a key to EVERY game and will always be included in my list. Latavius Murray has to get at least 15 carries, and ideally 10-12 of those carries would come before halftime. If he can get in rhythm, it will force the Steelers to load the box and respect the run, meaning the pass rush won’t come quite as quickly and the safeties and linebackers will have a bit further to go to help in coverage.

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  • This has been where the Raiders kill opposing teams, like last week against the Jets. The Raiders become a much explosive team once they’ve established that they will run the ball down an opponents throat first. When Derek Carr executed a beautiful 49-yard deep strike to Andre Holmes agains the Jets last week, the Jets had already surrendered 54 yards to Murray on seven carries. 

    Murray getting 15 chances to break loose is also a good reason to get the man his carries, of course: just last week against a notoriously tough Jets run defense, Murray managed three carries of 12 yards or more, including a 26 yarder on his first carry of the game. But more importantly, having your best back touching the ball a couple times per possession generally is going to keep your offense ahead of the chains and having more manageable 3rd down situations. It’s how the Raider offense has sustained a lot of drives over the last two games.