Quarterbacks making their first start against Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau have had plenty of trouble over the years. Since he became the Steelers defensive coordinator in 2004, passers are 26-11 in their first starts against the Steelers.
In that time, they averaged 166 yards passing a game, with 23 total touchdowns and 37 interceptions.
While there are some who had a good level of success - Jay Cutler, Byron Leftwich and Eli Manning all put up games with passer ratings over 100 - plenty of them finished with ratings less than 60 (19 of the 37, in fact).
Steelers running game
Even with the considerable advantage at the quarterback position, the Steelers could also out-perform the Raiders on the ground - something that wasn't the case last season. With an offensive line that's starting to jell, and rookie running back Le'Veon Bell heating up, it could be enough to gain enough room to make the Raiders' staunch run defense sweat a bit. That's all Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will need to work play-action down the field.
It's a long way from the 43-yarder at the buzzer he booted against Pittsburgh last year. Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski has missed five kicks from 30 yards or longer so far this season. Some would say the loss of longtime holder Shane Lechler may be part of the issue, but Janikowski is not the same dead-eye kicker he's been in the past. In a tight, defensive game, this could be a big factor.
Usually, the story heading into a Steelers game is the injured status of Pittsburgh's starting offensive line. Oakland is the banged up unit this week, with center/guard Andre Gurode and right tackle Tony Pashos likely out for this game. The Raiders will get center Stefan Wisniewski back for this game, but the patchwork line is still trying to come together as a unit.
Repeat of history
Which will break? The Raiders ridiculous 0-10 streak coming off their bye week, or the Steelers' three-game losing streak in Oakland? Breaking it down simply, the Steelers have more strengths than the Raiders do, and while the primary match-up here is the Raiders defense against the Steelers offense, Pittsburgh is poised to have a breakthrough performance on the defensive side of the ball. That's enough to extend the league's longest (by far) post-bye week streak.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Steelers vs. Raiders Week 8 2013: Game Day updates, news and info
- The Standard is The Standard: Steelers pregame podcast episode 7
- Steelers vs. Raiders match-ups: Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau vs. Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor
- Steelers vs. Raiders: Ike Taylor 'probably' will shadow wide receiver Denarius Moore
- Corner or nickel, peak or valley, Steelers Cortez Allen is playing for what's on the front of his jersey