Pittsburgh Steelers: 3 Things to Expect for Week 3 (Based on Wk 2 Results)
Jason Bridge-US PRESSWIRE
Now Pittsburgh will look to replicate their success against New York in their Week 3 matchup against the Oakland Raiders.
QB Ben Roethlisberger sliced up the vaunted Jets defense en-route to a three touchdown, 27-point performance by the Steel Curtain's offense.
Next week's matchup against the Raiders is one they should win. Oakland is clearly a team on the downswing (they lost seven starters from last season), and Pittsburgh's D should be able to overwhelm the middling Raiders offense.
Let's take a look at what Pittsburgh fans can expect from their team following their Week 2 blowout of the Jets.
1) Roethlisberger Will Rule the Day Again
Look for Big Ben to have a big day against the Raiders defense.
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Though the Jets didn't have CB Darrelle Revis—the league's best defensive back—on the field in Week 2, they still boasted a strong secondary headed by CB Antonio Cromartie and man-child S LaRon Landry.
That's a lot more than the Raiders defense can put forth.
Oakland lost CB Stanford Routt and didn't re-sign Lito Sheppard this offseason, leaving them with holes at both starting corner positions. Their luck at defensive back has taken a turn for the worse this year, with both starting corners Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer out with injuries.
That's not a recipe for stopping Big Ben and the Steelers offense.
Roethlisberger was a relentless 24 for 31 for 275 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2. That's good for a 77 percent completion rate and a 125.1 passer rating (good for third-best in Week 3). All that against a very good Jets defense, even without Revis.
Look for him to dissect the Oakland secondary like a high school chemistry student dices a live worm.
To call this a favorable matchup for the Steelers would be a glorious understatement: Roethlisberger might throw for four touchdowns in Week 3.
2) The Defense Will Have a Field Day Against Carson Palmer
After all these years, Pittsburgh's defense is still elite.
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Carson Palmer's star has fallen far since his Pro Bowl days.
The Raiders unloaded a first and second rounder for Palmer in the hopes he'd return them to the playoffs last season. It didn't pay off: they finished 8-8 for the second straight year, good for third in their division.
Now Palmer, who at this point is just a shell of his former self, faces a fast and physical Pittsburgh defense that won't have much trouble stopping him.
On the first drive of the Steelers' Week 2 matchup, Jets QB Mark Sanchez marched his offense down the field, going 4-for-5 for 80 yards and a touchdown. On the last Jets drive, when the game had already been decided, Sanchez went 3-for-5 for 36 yards.
In the nearly 50 minutes in between those two drives, Pittsburgh held Sanchez to just three completions in 17 attempts for only 22 yards.
That is a phenomenal defensive performance against a quarterback who, at this point, is fairly similar to Palmer.
Bleacher Report AFC West Lead Writer Christopher Hansen penned a great article detailing Palmer's current performance issues. Palmer has a strong arm, but, as outlined by Hansen, he's indecisive in his reads, he's prone to overthrows and he tends to lock in on receivers.
Sounds a bit like the profile of a certain Jets QB whom the Steelers just shut down (no, not Tim Tebow).
Though it's tough to expect any defense to totally neutralize a passer like the Steelers did to Sanchez in Week 2, look for them to have a fantastic performance against Palmer and the Raiders.
3) Pittsburgh Will Win Big
Mike Tomlin will have plenty of reasons to smile in Week 3.
Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE
The Raiders don't match up well against the Steelers. They really don't match up well against many teams, actually.
To paraphrase the old adage, they're bringing a spoon to a gunfight, and it won't be pretty.
The Steelers D should be able to throttle Palmer and a struggling RB Darren McFadden, leaving the Raiders with little recourse on offense.
When the Steelers have the ball, they'll have troubles along the line, where the Raiders D will be able to put pressure on a patchwork Pittsburgh front that has already allowed eight sacks this season.
But if Roethlisberger can get the ball off in time, he'll pick apart a Raiders secondary that wishes it could be called "patchwork."
This is a game that shouldn't be close, and it won't be. Pittsburgh beat up on a Jets team that has a legitimate shot at the playoffs. The Raiders, by all accounts, will be on the outside looking in come January.
Look for the Steelers to win by more than two touchdowns in Week 3.
Prediction: Steelers win, 31-13