The Pittsburgh Steelers have another tough test ahead of them in Week 2 of the 2021 regular season when they host the Las Vegas Raiders at Heinz Field for their season opener. The Raiders are 1-0 after a thrilling overtime victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football, and with players like Maxx Crosby and Darren Waller coming to town, the Steelers could have their hands full.
With all the talk about the big name players for Vegas, it isn’t as if their roster is perfect. In fact, there are plenty of issues on both sides of the ball. Every unit has their weaknesses. This week I was able to ask Matt Holder of Silver and Black Pride several questions leading up to the Week 2 matchup. One of those questions was where he thought the weakness on the Raiders’ offense resided.
Here is what he said about the offense:
The offensive line is definitely a weak point for the Raiders. They’re really young upfront and with Denzelle Good out and Richie Incognito questionable, Kolton Miller could be the most senior member of the group and he’s only in his fourth season. I’m definitely worried about how Las Vegas stacks up in the trenches compared to the juggernaut Pittsburgh has.
The Raiders’ offensive line, going against the stout Steelers’ defensive front, should have their hands full on Sunday, but what about the Las Vegas defense? Where are the kinks in their armour?
Defensively, it’s a similar story in the secondary. Casey Hayward is a proven veteran, but Trayvon Mullen is just in his third season, Johnathan Abram is too but he missed his entire rookie season, and Tre’von Moehrig and Nate Hobbs are rookies. I’d say that’s probably the Raiders’ weakness defensively compared to the Steelers, especially with JuJu Smith-Schuster going against the rookie Hobbs in the slot. Hobbs was a preseason superstar and earned a starting spot, but he didn’t see anybody nearly as good as JuJu.
When you hear someone who follows the Raiders like us at BTSC follow the Steelers say the weakness on the defense is in the secondary, you get excited. However, it will come down to the Steelers’ offensive line protecting Ben Roethlisberger and giving him time to deliver passes downfield to those dynamic wide receivers.
The best defense for a weak secondary is with a dynamic pass rush, and the Raiders’ defensive front harassed Lamar Jackson early and often in prime time in Week 1.
Will the Steelers be able to exploit these weaknesses when facing the Raiders? That has yet to be seen, but if the Steelers want to hold serve at home, and advance their record to 2-0, they will need to win the battle in the trenches and make the Raiders pay for these mismatches.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for Week 2 of the 2021 regular season.