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11-21-2010, 09:36 AM
Game 10 matchup: Steelers vs. Raiders
Sunday, November 21, 2010
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

When the Raiders have the ball: Their offense revolves around RB Darren McFadden but, as the Steelers discovered last season, the Raiders can stretch the field with their receivers. During their three-game win streak, QB Jason Campbell has completed 46 of 80 passes for 742 yards, five TDs with one interception for a passer rating of 104.3. WR Louis Murphy is second on the team with 21 catches and 337 yards, but he had a big game against the Steelers last season, catching four passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns -- one 75-yarder and the other the game-winner with less than two minutes remaining. Rookie WR Jacoby Ford combines with second-year WR Darrius Heyward-Bey to give the Raiders two of the fastest receivers in the league. Heyward-Bey, though, might not play because of a hamstring injury.

Game: Steelers (6-3) vs. Oakland Raiders (5-4), Heinz Field.

When: 1 p.m..


Radio: WDVE-FM (102.5), WBGG-AM (970).

Favored: Steelers by 7.

When the Steelers have the ball: The offense had 425 total yards against the Patriots, with QB Ben Roethlisberger passing for 387 yards and three touchdowns, but most of that came in the fourth quarter after the score was 23-3. The Steelers need to start faster and keep the Raiders from relentlessly pressuring Roethlisberger, who was sacked five times by the Patriots. DT Richard Seymour is playing the way he did with the Patriots, often drawing double-teams blocks that keep offensive linemen from getting to the second level. Seymour and DT Tommy Kelly, who have combined for nine sacks, create lots of space for rookie MLB Rolando McClain, their No. 1 draft choice, to make tackles. The good news is that All-Pro CB Nnamdi Asomugha (right ankle sprain) is not expected to play, which bodes well for WR Mike Wallace (eight catches, 136 yards, 2 TDs vs. the Patriots). Asomugha has allowed just one touchdown in the past three seasons. His replacement is Chris Johnson.
Keep and eye on

TE Zach Miller ... Despite his position, he is a big-play receiver for the Raiders and a one-on-one mismatch for most linebackers and safeties. Miller leads the team with 34 catches, including eight of 20 yards or more, and four touchdowns. He did not play in the previous game because of a right arch injury, but he is expected to play against the Steelers.

The Raiders are one of the hottest and highest-scoring teams in the league, having won an AFC-best three in a row and averaging 38.6 points in those three victories. What's more, they scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to beat the Steelers, 27-24, in 2009.The Raiders have won the past two meetings, three of the past five and lead the all-time regular-season series, 10-8. The teams are 3-3 in the postseason. ... The Steelers are 2-2 at home this season.
Keys to victory:

To win, the Raiders must ...

1 Start fast. The NFL's No. 2 rush offense and lots of defensive pressure make them ideally suited to play with a lead.

2 Apply Murphy's Law. He led the comeback victory against the Steelers last season, catching fourth-quarter TD passes of 75 and 11 yards.

3 Have Ben see more of Richard. The Raiders defensive line, led by Seymour, account for 16 1/2 of the 27 sacks.

To win, the Steelers must ...

1 Stop D-Mac with the D-line. The league's No. 1 rush defense can't let McFadden, who has eight runs of 20 yards or longer, get into the secondary.

2 Not let Zach attack. If the Raiders channel the Patriots, they will try Miller in the slot against Gay, who was beaten for a pair of TDs by TE Rob Gronkowski.

3 Not get fleeced by Jason. Tom Brady attacked the Steelers underneath their coverage; Campbell will try to go over the top with his speedy receivers.
Gerry Dulac: gdulac@ppost-gazette.com.

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