The key to beating the Steelers is actually quite simple; block. Pittsburgh has one of the oldest (and worst) secondaries in the NFL as their top cornerback is a 33-year-old Patrick Peterson. Their linebackers aren’t known for their coverage and the entire back-end of their defense can be crushed in the passing game.
However, in order to pass against this defense, you’ve got to be able to protect upfront. T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith are one of the best EDGE duos in the league and can cause a ton of havoc up front. As we saw last week against the Browns, they can win games by themselves.
But if the Raiders can hold up on the offensive line and block the pass rush of the Steelers, they will win this game. Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers will be running wide-open all day long.
The good news is that the offensive line of the Raiders has played well to start the year. Here is what Pro Football Focus had to say about their unit after the first two games of the season:
The Raiders’ offensive line has let up the fewest pressures this season — just five in two games. Only four offensive tackles in the entire league did not receive a downgrade on any run play in Week 2, and two of them were Kolton Miller and Jermaine Eluemunor.
The matchup to watch here is Eluemunor against Watt. Rarely does Pittsburgh move Watt around the formation, so the Raiders better be ready to give him some extra attention, especially on key third downs.
But don’t be surprised if we see the Raiders leave Eluemunor on an island against Watt so that they keep more players in route. And if that’s the case, Jimmy Garoppolo better make sure to get rid of the ball quickly in order to avoid costly turnovers and sacks.