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The Steelers are coming to town for the Raiders’ home opener. For that we present five key matchups.
Eluemunor has been pretty solid at right tackle through the first two games of the season. But he has yet to face a pass rusher this season the level of Watt. The All Pro EDGE leads the NFL with four sacks and nine QB hits over two games. It will take everything Eluemunor’s got to keep Watt from wrecking the Raiders’ offensive game plan.
Matt Canada vs Patrick Graham
This is a battle to not be the worst coach in the building. Canada has been absolutely abysmal as Steelers OC, so you’d hope Graham could outflank him. But the Raiders defense has not done anything of late but help opposing QBs look better than they have any right to look. Kenny Pickett comes in looking like arguably the worst starting QB in the league. Graham and Co. will need to ensure that continues Sunday night.
Pickens will be the best receiver on the field not named Davante Adams. The second-year man is a game breaker. The supposed best cornerback the Raiders have is Peters. This battle will be one to watch, because no matter how bad Pickett is, there are things Pickens has the ability to make up for a lot of offensive deficiencies if Peters doesn’t keep him under wraps.
Steelers interior OL vs Raiders interior DL
Maxx Crosby is going to be Maxx Crosby. But what we saw last week in Buffalo was a Bills team that was so non-threatened by the rest of the Raiders defensive line, they just keyed on stopping Crosby all game. Crosby faced constant double teams while the Bills easily handled the Raiders defensive interior. If Crosby is to make an impact, he may need the interior DL to clog some lanes and crash the pocket. Which is a lot to ask of this ineffective group.
We have yet to see the 2022 rushing champion Josh Jacobs show up. Well, the Steelers are without All Pro defensive tackle Cam Heyward and, for all their defensive prowess, tackling and stopping the run have not been there for them. What this means is we need to see the tackle-breaking Josh Jacobs back to help the Raiders offense stay on the field and not turn the ball over.