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Steelers keys to victory vs. Raiders: Coaches, players, offense and defense need to talk

Can Pittsburgh win two in a row?

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Lauren Leigh Bacho/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers will play their first road game of the season in Week 3, traveling to face the Las Vegas Raiders in primetime. Kickoff for the Steelers and Raiders is set for 8:20 p.m. ET.

Can the Steelers get over .500 with a win in Week 3? If they have hopes to, they’ll need to check a few boxes. Here are the Steelers’ keys to victory for Week 3 against the Raiders.

Key #1: Commit no turnovers.

For the Steelers offense and all of its inconsistencies, this team cannot afford to turn the ball over. It’s impossible to expect multiple defensive touchdowns from week to week. However, because of the presence of T.J. Watt, the Steelers will be in a position to do so more than most teams not named the Cowboys or 49ers.

Remember what happened to the Cleveland Browns on Monday night? On the first play of the game, the Browns sent the t it was the first play of the game that sent the team in the wrong direction with a rocking crowd. The Steelers cannot afford to do this in any contests either. They do not play to overcome; they play to hang on. Start by hanging onto the ball.

Key #2: Stop Raiders WR Davante Adams.

Moving up from key three in the previous article because memories of elite receivers taking over games kept popping into my head. These last few years have brought more concern. The Raiders squad has been struggling as well. They are a mirror team of the Pittsburgh Steelers with how they play. However, if the Raiders come up with a good game plan focusing on play action to Davante, he has the All-Pro abilities and will take a game over. The Steelers cannot give him an opportunity to get started.

Through two weeks, no one player has taken over for the Raiders, but the ability and skill are there, especially for Adams, who’s coming off his third All-Pro season. Pittsburgh does not want Week 3 to serve as a reminder to the NFL of Adams’ elite abilities.

Key #3: Move the chains.

Unfortunately, until the Steelers are able to move the chains consistently, this will be a weekly theme. Just because they are facing the Raiders, who have similar struggles, doesn’t mean it gets any easier.

The Steelers have playmakers who will make plays, but they cannot count on chunk gains over the haul of a season. The more time that passes each week, it becomes all the more pressing to turn it all on. Consistently moving the chains eats up the clock, shortens the game, and gives the Steelers more control of the game flow.

Key #4: Get on the same page.

Coaches, players, offense, and defense all need to talk. Figure out how to play complementary football. On offense complement the run with the pass and vice versa. On defense, the team has shown holes in the run game, with DT Cam Heyward’s absence not helping matters. However, defending the run has been a problem for the Steelers for several seasons now.

Neither of these teams has shown consistency, nor creativity on offense either. Odds suggest one of them may figure it out, but probably not both. With both squads having solid playmakers, it’s going to come down to the team that communicates and gets on the same page that will determine the victory.