A historic rivalry will be renewed on Sunday night when the Steelers clash with the Raiders in a prime-time showdown. It will mark the first game between the two teams inside the “Death Star” that includes a massive torch honoring Al Davis, the Raiders’ late owner who played a major role in the Steelers-Raiders rivalry in the 1970s.
Davis loved the deep ball, so he would be happy to hear that both the Steelers and Raiders will probably test the opposing secondaries early and often. Kenny Pickett, after two underwhelming games, is motivated to show that he is indeed the Steelers’ long-term answer at quarterback. The Raiders’ starting quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, will undoubtedly try to dissect a Pittsburgh secondary that has been suspect so far. A big matchup to watch will be six-time Pro Bowler Davante Adams facing off against eight-time Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson.
If we’re talking legendary figures from the Steelers-Raiders rivalry, we’ve got to mention the two coaches from those days: Hall of Famers Chuck Noll and John Madden. Both coaches were former offensive linemen who loved to employ powerful running games. With that in mind, whoever is able to get their currently dormant running game going will probably be the team that is 2-1 at the end of the night.
For the Steelers, it will be key to establish the run while giving Pickett a better chance of having success. For the Raiders, their offensive line (which has yet to allow a sack this season) will have to limit the impact of Pittsburgh pass-rushers T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith, who each scored touchdowns in the Steelers’ first win over the season on Monday night against the Browns.
How to watch
Date: Sunday, Sept. 24 | Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
Location: Allegiant Stadium (Paradise, Nevada)
TV: NBC | Stream: fubo
Follow: CBS Sports App
Odds: Raiders -2.5, O/U 43
Garoppolo (who won his only previous start vs. the Steelers in 2019) is more than capable of picking Pittsburgh’s defense apart. But it’s safe to assume that Garoppolo may struggle to avoid the grasp of Watt and Highsmith, especially if the Raiders continue to get nothing established on the ground.
As noted above, Pickett is going to be aggressive, but he will also spend a good portion of the night handing the ball to Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren. The Steelers are hell-bent at improving their running game, and given the fact that the Raiders are 27th in the league in rush defense, it’s a safe bet that Pittsburgh will finally put together an offensive performance that will be closer to preseason expectations.
For the Raiders, Sunday could very well be a continuation of what has been a rocky start to the season, especially on offense. For a score prediction, we’re going back to the ’70s while selecting the same score from the first of three straight AFC title-game showdowns between the Steelers and Raiders.
Score: Steelers 24, Raiders 13
R.J. White, our NFL expert over at SportsLine.com, has been on a roll with his Steelers predictions, going 55-28-4 on his last 87 picks. If you want to check out White’s take on this prime-time game, click here.
This content was originally published here.