The Pittsburgh Steelers and Las Vegas Raiders renew their rivalry in the Steelers’ home opener in Week 2 at Heinz Field, and the battle of the AFC teams certainly has a lot of headlines swirling around it.
Will the Steelers’ running game ever become a strength of the offense?
Can the Pittsburgh defense continue to be dominant every game?
Are the Raiders for real, or was their Week 1 win over the Baltimore Ravens just a fluke?
Among those story lines are players who aren’t talked about often, but can certainly play a role in the outcome of the game. This week I was fortunate enough to ask Silver and Black Pride’s contributor Matt Holder several questions leading up to the big game Sunday.
One of those questions was if he could give me a player who isn’t being talked about, but could play a big role in who wins and loses the game. He didn’t disappoint and gave a player Steelers fans should become acquainted with heading into Week 2.
Cornerback Nate Hobbs. Hobbs played really well in the preseason and was getting some buzz for that, but he was rather quiet against the Ravens and people’s attention has turned elsewhere now that the lights are brighter and everyone else is playing. However, I think the fifth-round pick’s performance will go a long way in determining the outcome of the game.
Hobbs is untested against top competition and this will be a good measuring stick to see if he’s someone the Raiders can count on to win right now, or still needs some development.
If Hobbs is deemed as untested, he certainly will get a big test vs. the likes of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson and even Najee Harris if Hobbs rotates outside with the dynamic running back when he splits out wide.
This will likely be a matchup to keep your eye one, especially with defenses almost daring the Steelers to beat them down the field before they start to back off the line of scrimmage. If the Steelers can hit on a few deep passes, it should open up their offense tremendously, and that would make for tough sledding for the Raiders coming off a short week and traveling across country for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the upcoming game between the Steelers and Raiders this Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET.