New England had some success spreading the Steelers defense out last Sunday night, but that’s not the Raiders style. Oakland has improved offensively this year with power running and play-action passing. Don’t expect them to change.
“We’re really not [built that way],” coach Tom Cable said, via the Oakland Tribune. “We have to be who we are. At the same time, you look at some of the issues that they had on Sunday night was about spreading them out and mixing them up. . . . At the end of the day, be who you are and you might mix in a few things.”
(It’s worth noting the Patriots also had plenty of success against Pittsburgh in two-tight end power formations.)
One reason it may be tougher for the Raiders to spread out the Steelers is that they are short at wide receiver. Darrius Heyward-Bey strained his hamstring at practice during the bye week and it sounds like he won’t play this week. Chaz Schilens, meanwhile, may not return this season, according to Vittorio Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle. It sounds like his knee isn’t recovering well.
Raiders-Steelers should be a fun matchup to watch because it will pit strength-on-strength. Oakland’s ground game is second in yards and third in yards-per-carry this year. The Steelers are first in both categories.