Sunday the Raiders are looking to build upon their game against the Chiefs last week. Even in a loss, it was the best they’ve looked in half a season. If they are to do it, these are the match-ups that will factor in the most.
Gareon Conley vs Antonio Brown
Over the past three weeks Conley has been one of the best players the Raiders have. He is about to face his toughest test this season going against arguably the best receiver in the league. Brown has caught 81 passes for 1028 yards and a league-leading 12 touchdowns. The past couple weeks Conley has stuck to his receiver deep to break up a pass in the end zone. He will need to do it again and may need to actually hold onto one in order to stop AB from doing what AB does.
Tahir Whitehead vs Ben Roethisberger
Whitehead was the spy on Pat Mahomes last week and had a couple key stops. Roethlisberger is not the running threat Mahomes is, but he’s quite elusive. Among Whitehead’s duties should be to keep an eye on Roethlisberger to keep him from finding room to scramble once he can’t find an open receiver.
Jared Cook vs Terrell Edmunds
Sticking a safety like Edmunds to Cook would be the most sensible thing the Steelers can do. Cook is the number one receiving threat on the Raiders and will be tough to contain. But it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to know where the Steelers priorities will be when attempting to stifle the Raiders’ limited passing attack.
Maurice Hurst, P.J. Hall vs Steelers Pro Bowl interior
Hurst should be feeling better from his ankle injury and he and his rookie cohort will once again tag team as the Raiders interior pass rushers. The Steelers have one of the better interior offensive lines in the league in Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, and David DeCastro. That group has blocked for LeVeon Bell and James Conner put together back-to-back outstanding rushing seasons. Conner is injured and won’t play, but if Hurst and company aren’t on their game, even Stevan Ridley and Jaylen Samuels will run over them. More importantly, the usual amount of pressure on Hurst and Hall to…um…get pressure on Roethisberger because the Raiders sure aren’t getting any pressure from the outside.
Brandon Parker vs T.J. Watt
Speaking of pass rush, the Steelers have a Watt brother. He has 10.0 sacks this season. Parker has been surrendering sacks at an extreme rate this season, so you know Watt will be lining up across from him trying to add to his total. Another big test for the rookie right tackle.