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Oakland Raiders: Five Things Team Must Do to Beat Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8

Yahoo Contributor Network
COMMENTARY | The Oakland Raiders and the Pittsburgh Steelers will add another chapter to their historic rivalry on Sunday at Coliseum.

Both teams may not resemble anything close to the glory days of the 1970s when the Oakland-Pittsburgh rivalry was the biggest rivalry in the NFL, but it's always a great story when two historic franchises square off.

The Steelers head into this matchup at just 2-4. They've failed to meet any expectations set for them before the season started, but the Steelers have gained some momentum as of late.

Pittsburgh has won its last two games after losing its first four, and all of a sudden it looks as if the Steelers might finally have something going midway through the season.

Oakland comes into this one at 2-4 as well. After an ugly 24-7 loss in Kansas City where Terrelle Pryor was sacked 10 times, the Raiders headed into their bye week at the perfect time.

It's always a good thing for a team to get a week off following a sour note, something the Raiders were all too familiar with.

The Raiders lead the all-time regular season series over the Steelers with an 11-9 record since 1970. Let's see what they need to do to make it 12-9.

Extend the Field

The Raiders need to come out of the gates strong and show the Steelers they aren't scared of their fourth-ranked pass defense.

Terrelle Pryor hit Rod Streater on a beautiful 44-yard touchdown pass on Oakland's first play from scrimmage against the San Diego Chargers, setting the tone for the rest of the night.

The Steelers may not be in the AFC West, but their long rivalry with the Raiders always makes these games feel like divisional matchups. Oakland needs to go toe-to-toe with Pittsburgh's secondary and show the Steelers that they aren't afraid to take any chances.

Protect Terrelle Pryor

If the Raiders have any shot at beating the Steelers, they must protect Pryor. It has to happen.

Extending the field is null and void if Pryor can't get time in the pocket and his receivers aren't able to develop their routes.

As mobile as Pryor is, he's still human, and everyone saw it after the beat down he took in Arrowhead Stadium. I understand the offensive line is gashed with injuries, but they have to get better or Pryor is in for another long day.

Contain Le'Veon Bell

Pittsburgh's ability to run the football the last few weeks has taken some of the pressure off Ben Roethlisberger to do everything himself.

Enter Le'Veon Bell.

The rookie out of Michigan State averaged nearly five yards per carry against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 7, and he's also shown the potential to make a difference in Pittsburgh's passing game, too.

Oakland comes into this game with the NFL's 10th-best rushing defense. So far, the Raiders have held Maurice Jones-Drew and Jamaal Charles to under four yards per carry, and they knocked Ryan Mathews out of the game early when they beat the Chargers.

Making Bell a non-factor will force Roethlisberger to beat Oakland with his arm, and as we saw before Bell came back from his injury, that's a difficult task for Big Ben to accomplish.

Blitz, blitz, blitz

Defensive coordinator Jason Tarver has rejuvenated the Raiders' defense that was awful last year. He's mixed up the playbook to surprise offenses with different packages, but he's still been a fan of bringing the blitz.

It's no secret that Roethlisberger is a big dude and is very difficult to bring down, but the Raiders still need to try. Oakland already has 13 sacks this year, more than half of what they had all of last year.

The secondary has held its own so far, and Roethlisberger doesn't have the weapons he's had in the past. Exploiting the weakness in the Steelers' passing game will throw off the chemistry they've developed over the last few weeks.

It will also make Todd Haley even more unliked than he already is in Pittsburgh.

Keep Things the Same in the Second Half

For the last three weeks, the Raiders have not been very good during the second half of their games. Oakland has only scored 10 second-half points since Week 4.

Not good.

Against the Redskins and the Chiefs, the Raiders didn't score a single-point in the second half.

I'm not exactly sure what offensive coordinator Greg Olson is thinking once the second half starts, but he has to turn things around. It's not about how you start games, it's how you finish them.

Steven Slivka covers the Oakland Raiders for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @ StevenSlivka

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