Oakland Raiders: Keys to Victory Over Pittsburgh Steelers

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Oct 25, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; A Oakland Raiders fan poses for a picture during the fourth quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Raiders roll into Heinz Field this Sunday to take on their old, bitter rival in the Pittsburgh Steelers. These two teams have hooked up and put together some of the most storied – and infamous – games in NFL history and that bitter rivalry is still – well – bitter. By the way, the Immaculate Reception was then and is now, still total bunk.

See? Raider fans never forget. Or forgive.

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It’s been a while though, since the Raiders played a meaningful game with the Steelers. That tends to happen when you’ve been scraping rock bottom for more than a decade.

But times have changed and the Raiders are a team on the rise. With some deft maneuvering in free agency and the draft by GM Reggie McKenzie, an owner in Mark Davis who knows how to stay out of the way, and now a head coach in Jack Del Rio, the Raiders have a roster full of explosive, young talent and are beginning to restore this storied franchise to its former glory.

Currently sitting at 4-3, the Raiders are in the thick of a playoff picture that is slowly beginning to take shape. After a resounding beatdown of the New York Jets last Sunday, the Raiders have seized control of one of the AFC’s two wild card spot. If they can beat the Steelers this Sunday, their position will become even stronger – owning the head to head tie breakers against the two teams immediately behind you in the standings helps quite a bit when it’s all said and done.

Of course, there is still a lot of football left to be played yet, but having already made a huge statement with a dominating performance against New York, can make an even bigger statement by going on the road and beating the Steelers.

Pittsburgh has a good team with some solid players. They do have some key injuries – such as the season ender to running back Le’Veon Bell – they are still not a team that can be taken lightly. Especially not with Big Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown on the field. Though the running game will take a hit with the loss of Bell, DeAngelo Williams can’t – and shouldn’t – be overlooked. Nor can the sheer number of weapons who will be taking the field in black and gold on Sunday – including former Raider and first round bust Darrius Heyward-Bey.

The Raiders are going to have their hands full with Pittsburgh’s dynamic offense – and with a defense that while not as great as it was in the Steelers’ glory days, is still able to get the job done. This is a game they cannot afford to sleep on, nor is one they can afford to suffer a letdown after a big, emotional win over the Jets.

It will be a dogfight when these two teams renew their rivalry – this time with something on the line other than pride. Here are some keys to a Raiders victory over the Steelers.

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