The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Las Vegas Raiders will square off in Week 2 after both of them came away with a win in Week 1. The Steelers impressively defeated the Buffalo Bills to begin the season as they held Josh Allen in check. As for the Raiders, they were able to sneak out with a victory on Monday Night Football in an overtime thriller over the Baltimore Ravens.
At the time this article is being written, the Steelers are favored to beat the Raiders by nearly a touchdown. Las Vegas is hoping to repeat their success from Week 1 as they will be the road team in Pittsburgh this Sunday.
Ahead of an interesting matchup, here are five reasons why the Steelers will beat the Raiders in Week 2.
Defense, Defense, And More Defense
The defense of the Steelers was mighty impressive in their regular-season opener versus the Bills. A ton of people — including myself — thought that Buffalo’s offense would be able to pick back up from where they left off a season ago. However, Pittsburgh’s defense had other plans as they made Allen uncomfortable all game as they limited the Bills to only 16 points.
While the defense of the Ravens isn’t one to scoff at, the Steelers have a much healthier group than their AFC North rivals. If Pittsburgh’s defense plays like they did in Week 1, it could be a tall task for Las Vegas to score points on Sunday.
Much Better Matchup For Najee Harris
It was a quiet debut for Najee Harris as the Steelers came away with a victory in Week 1 over the Bills. Harris rushed for only 45 yards on 16 carries and he caught one pass for four yards. Seeing that he had one run go for 18 yards, his other 15 attempts went for a mere 27 yards against a stout run defense in the Bills.
While the offensive line of the Steelers isn’t a formidable group, the matchup for Harris is a much more favorable one against the Raiders in Week 2. I expect Harris to find the end zone at least once and finish with around 100 yards from scrimmage in his second game as Pittsburgh’s workhorse running back.
Derek Carr Will Be Under Duress
I’ve already spoken about the defense of the Steelers, but I want to key in on the pass-rushing department in Pittsburgh. No matter who the Steelers have on defense, they always seem to finish near the top — if not the top — of the NFL in sacks and pressures. In Week 1, Pittsburgh led the NFL with 18 total pressures and they sacked Allen three times.
T.J. Watt is one of the premier edge rushers in the league, but Melvin Ingram showed that he still has some juice left. Not to mention, Cameron Heyward is still a productive pass rusher up front. With the Raiders having a beat-up offensive line, Derek Carr could be running for his life in Week 2.
Secondary Of The Raiders Is Still Unproven
The Raiders didn’t have to be overly concerned with their secondary in Week 1 as they played a run-heavy offense like the Ravens. Baltimore did have some success with Lamar Jackson airing it out, though, he would be pressured for the majority of the contest.
While some may be more confident in the secondary of the Raiders, I’m still extremely skeptical of the unproven nature of their secondary. Even though Ben Roethlisberger is unable to deliver passes like he once could, the Steelers have a trio of talented wideouts in Diontae Johnson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Chase Claypool.
Have To Travel Across The Country To Play In A Tough Environment
It was an emotional game for the Raiders in Week 1 as they played their first home game at Allegiant Stadium with fans in attendance. Coming off of their victory, Las Vegas will have to travel across the country to face Pittsburgh in a tough environment at Heinz Field.
I’m still hesitant to believe that the Raiders can be a winning team so it will be quite the test for them in Week 2. Given how Las Vegas has performed in high-pressure situations in recent years, I’ll side with the Steelers at home in front of their loud fans.