The Raiders shocked the NFL Week One with a win in overtime. In typical Raiders fashion, they won when all hope seemed lost. A redzone interception seemed to give the Ravens the final drive of the game. However, the Raiders pass rush came in clutch and got the ball back. After coming in for an injured Ngakoue, Nassib beat Alejandro Villanueva for a strip-sack giving Derek Carr the ball and the rest is history.
In Week Two, the Raiders play yet another 2020 playoff team, the Steelers. I don’t know how any other fan feels about this game, but I’m excited. Unlike the Ravens, the Steelers are healthy and have a stronger receiving core. This leads to a bigger test for both sides of the ball.
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Last week, the defense played a depleted Ravens offense lacking in their most-used position, running back. By no means am I running down the Raiders win; I ran up and down the halls of my dorm celebrating. But the season is long and Week Two is just around the corner.
What does Pittsburgh’s offense bring to the table?
This section will feature a brief overview of the Steelers personnel and throughout the week I will take a deeper dive into these groups.
Pitt is once again starting the season with Big Ben Roethlisberger. Though he looks to be running out of steam he is still a future Hall of Famer and has played against the best. Most recently he led his Steelers to a win over the Buffalo Bills. News flash they’re no slouch.
Now the real threat of this offense isn’t Big Ben. It’s their receivers and the group runs deep. Juju Smith-Schuster being their number one. He may make a fool of himself with his social media and tik-tok’s, but he is a solid receiver. Chase Claypool, debated their number one, blew up after their Week Four matchup against the Eagles. Claypool stands at 6’4 and runs a 4.42 40 time making him a big-time deep threat. Rounding out the group is Diontae Johnson. While Johnson isn’t quite the player his counterparts are he does have the speed to take the top of the defense.
Sadly their skill positions don’t stop there. We can expect to see quite a bit of rookie running back Najee Harris. While he didn’t see a whole lot of carries Najee is a legit threat. He has the ability to catch out of the backfield and when the ball is in his hands will make a defender miss or go through them.
Rounding out the offense’s weapons is the tight end, Eric Ebron. Ebron is not the player he was with the Colts but that doesn’t mean he won’t be a threat. When he is playing his best football it’s not easy to stall him.
Steel Curtain 2.0?
Let’s be honest with ourselves the Steelers’ defense is how they win games.
Heading their group is TJ Watt who is undoubtedly a top-three edge rusher and will likely be matched up against rookie tackle Alex Leatherwood for a majority of their Week Two matchup.
On the line is defensive tackle Cameron Heyward, defensive end Chris Wormley, and nose tackle Tyson Alualu. As a group, they totaled eleven combined tackles including a TFL and two QB hits.
Behind the line at inside linebacker is Devin Bush and Joe Schobert. Neither player misses many tackles, but have been susceptible to being targeted in the pass game.
Finishing out the front seven are outside linebackers Alex Highsmith, Melvin Ingram, and the aforementioned TJ Watt. This group features a three-time pro bowler and a player that is constantly in the DPOY conversation. It’s safe to say that this week will be a big test for the young offensive line.
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While the secondary doesn’t have a fancy nickname, they also aren’t slouches.
At cornerback they have “Mr. I Lift Weights” himself Joe Haden and Cameron Sutton. Joe Haden is the vet of the two and has shown no signs of slowing down. Sutton has also shown the ability to make it difficult for the QB with his interception and eight deflected passes last season.
Behind them are safeties Terrell Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick. Minkah seems to always be around the ball especially last game as he tallied ten combined tackles. While being a reliable tackler, he also is great in pass coverage, as safeties should be. In his last two seasons alone, he has totaled nine interceptions. Terrell Edmunds has also featured the ability to be a sure tackler with five in their Week One matchup.
The Raiders showed out in Week One on both sides of the ball. On offense, Derek Carr showed once again that if you put the ball in his hands late he can win it. The receiving core, while starting out slow, also showed the ability to get open and make a big catch when their numbers were called.
Defensively they showed that a defensive coordinator really can make a difference. Big plays were minimized and players made good form tackles stopping the ball carriers from making a big play. Their Week Two matchup should be an exciting one.
The Raiders matchup series will be continued this week and I hope to release three like last week. If there are any groups you would like to see in particular make sure to let me know below. Until next time.