Veteran Oakland kicker Sebastian Janikowski celebrates after kicking a field goal to beat the Steelers last season.
By Gerry Dulac / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
When the Raiders have the ball: QB Terrelle Pryor leads the team in passing (1,061 yards) and rushing (285) but has been playing behind a suspect offensive line. The Raiders have allowed 27 sacks, tied for second most in the league, though 10 came in their previous game vs. Kansas City. Despite his ability to run, Pryor has been sacked 20 times, one fewer than Ben Roethlisberger. Their best lineman, C Stefen Wisniewski (Penn State and Central Catholic), has missed the past two games but could return today. Khalif Barnes, who started 25 games at right tackle, has been moved to left tackle. And Tony Pashos, who was out of football in 2012, is the right tackle. The Steelers will try to take advantage with OLB LaMarr Woodley, who has five of the team's eight sacks. RB Darren McFadden hurt the Steelers last season with a 64-yard touchdown run on his way to a 113 yards rushing. Pro Bowl FB Marcel Reece gets a lot of touches, catching 52 passes and averaging 5.4 yards on 59 carries last season.
When the Steelers have the ball: The Steelers have been more efficient during their two-game winning streak. After passing for 789 yards and three touchdowns in back-to-back losses, Ben Roethlisberger has passed for 424 yards and two TDs in the past two games. However, he has not turned the ball in those wins after committing five turnovers in the previous two outings. The Raiders will try to confuse him and the offensive line with a lot of multiple looks, morphing back and forth from a 4-3 front to a 3-4. DE Lamarr Houston is their best player in the front seven and applies most of the pressure along with OLB Jason Hunter. The Raiders made two significant free-agent acquisitions in their secondary, the biggest of which was returning future Hall of Fame S Charles Woodson to the team that drafted him in the first round in 1998. The other is CB Tracy Porter, who has three INT returns for touchdown in his career. Porter will move to nickel back in sub packages and No. 1 pick D.J. Hayden goes to corner.
Keep an eye on:
K Sebastian Janikowski ... He has converted just 7 of 11 field goal attempts this season and his career percentage is only 80.1 (331 of 413). But he is the franchise's all-time leading scorer with 1,421 points and its longest tenured player, having been selected in the first round of the 2000 draft. Janikowski, 35, has one of the strongest legs in the league and tied an NFL record for longest field goal last season when he kicked a 63-yarder. He is 1 for 3 from 50 yards or beyond this season.
The Raiders are coming off their scheduled off week, but that hasn't worked to their advantage recently. They haven't won the week following being off since 2002 (0-10). However, the Raiders have won three of the past four meetings against the Steelers, including the past two in Oakland. ... The Steelers have won two in a row and nine of their past 10 games in October. Since 1970 -- the season of the NFL/AFL merger, they are 116-59 in the month. The 116 wins in the month are the most of any team. They have allowed just one touchdown in the past nine quarters. ... The Steelers are 5-4 vs. the Raiders since the franchise moved back to Oakland in 1995.
To win, the Raiders must ...
1. Get Moore from Denarius. The team's leading receiver has 20 catches for 356 yards and three touchdowns in the past four games.
2. Have Houston be a problem. The 6-foot-3, 300-pound defensive end leads the team in sacks and is their most disruptive player up front.
3. Get bye their past. The Raiders have not won the week following a bye since their Super Bowl season in 2002.
To win, the Steelers must ...
1. Corral Terrelle. The defense will try to pressure the Raiders quarterback from the outside and not let him get on the perimeter.
2. Stall Ford. KR Jacoby Ford missed the 2012 season with a foot injury, but he has three kickoff returns for touchdowns in his career.
3. Not tip the Porter. The Raiders cornerback had a 43-yard interception return for a touchdown against Roethlisberger in the 2012 season opener in Denver.
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