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Week 3: Steelers-Raiders matchup

The SportsXchange

Pittsburgh at Oakland

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland - TV: CBS; DirecTV: 16

*TV announcers: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts

*Keys to the game: Raiders head coach Dennis Allen wants to see more field-position changing plays from his defense and special teams. With the ground game scuffling and WR Jacoby Ford out for the season, QB Carson Palmer is finding it difficult to string together lengthy drives. That won't get any easier against the Steelers, coming off a strong defensive game against the Jets and potentially getting OLB James Harrison back in the lineup. The Raiders' defense has struggled with missed assignments and poor tackling, but could catch a break if RB Rashard Mendenhall misses a third game while working his way back from knee surgery. The Steelers managed just 2.4 yards per carry against the Jets, but QB Ben Roethlisberger spread the ball to 10 different receivers. That's a scary notion for a Raiders secondary already thinned by injury.

*Matchup to watch - Steelers WR Antonio Brown vs. Raiders CB Pat Lee: Lee had a solid first start in place of injured Ron Bartell, holding Dolphins possession WR Davone Bess to 43 yards on three catches. But Brown presents a far different challenge for the veteran cornerback with his deep speed. Brown caught seven of 10 passes thrown his way last week. Veteran Joselio Hanson has also been elevated into a significant role in the Raiders' nickel packages.

*Player spotlight - Steelers CB DeMarcus Van Dyke: A third-round pick by the Raiders in 2011, Van Dyke signed with the Steelers after being released earlier this month. He was active last week, although he didn't record a tackle.

*Fast facts: Harrison needs three sacks for second place in franchise history. ... Raiders RB Darren McFadden has 26 carries for 54 yards (2.1 yards per carry) through two games.

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY

The Raiders aren't as bad as their pair of ugly losses to open the season, but there's no arguing how much they struggle when RB Darren McFadden is stuffed in the ground game. And there are few run defenses better than Pittsburgh's.

*Our pick: Steelers 27-19
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