The 2023 NFL season is in full swing, and on Sunday night, the Las Vegas Raiders will take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in their home opener. The Raiders will be looking to bounce back from a tough loss this past Sunday, as they went into Buffalo and got their doors blown off by the Bills in a 38-10 loss.
There is a lot to like about the Raiders this weekend, however, as they are currently the favorite to win, and have a lot going for them. The Steelers have not beaten the Raiders on the road since 1995, and while the Raiders are coming off a tough loss, Pittsburgh has a lot of holes on their roster as well.
Here, we look at the keys to victory for the Raiders on Sunday night.
Raiders keys to victory in 2023 NFL Week 3
1. Establish the run game
It is no big secret that the Raiders have struggled to run the ball this season, and that could be due to the fact that Josh Jacobs missed nearly the entire summer with the team. However, they are going up against a Steelers team that will be without their elite defensive tackle in Cameron Heyward, so they must take advantage of that.
Jacobs has less than 50 yards rushing this season, and is coming off a game that saw him rack up -2 yards on nine carries. The emphasis has to be getting him going early on Sunday night, wearing down what is a banged-up Steelers defense.
2. Find a role for Hunter Renfrow
The fact that Hunter Renfrow has only one target, and zero catches this season is a bit absurd going into the third game of the year. Renfrow was once considered one of the best slot wide receivers in the NFL, but it is clear that something is not clicking this season.
He has to find a role with this team, as the tight ends have struggled to get going in the pass game, and Jakobi Meyers is returning from a concussion. If he does not get it going soon, all of those trade rumors could soon become a reality for a guy who was once a favorite target of former starting quarterback Derek Carr.
3. Put the pressure on Kenny Pickett
Kenny Pickett is considered a solid young quarterback in the NFL, but he is still only in his second year, and is not off to a strong start to his sophomore campaign. The Raiders have to find a way to get some kind of pressure up the middle on Sunday night, freeing Maxx Crosby to wreck havoc on the young signal-caller.
If the Raiders can get Pickett off of his mark, it will go a long way into forcing the young quarterback into making mistakes. That can only help the Raiders in front of what should be a rowdy Allegiant Stadium crowd.