Behind Enemy Lines: Pittsburgh Steelers

Previewing the 2021 Las Vegas Raiders opponents, we look today at the Pittsburgh Steelers.
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Sports Illustrated's Raider Maven continues to go behind enemy lines and get the latest information on the Las Vegas Raiders' upcoming opponents for the 2021 NFL season, straight from the source covering them.

The Raiders' first road game will take place in Week 2, when they fly to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers.

Noah Strackbein, the publisher of Sports Illustrated's All Steelers, recently joined Sports Illustrated's Raider Maven's Editor and Publisher Hondo Carpenter on the radio.

Carpenter was co-hosting with Clay Baker on the "Pritch & Clay" morning show on Raider Nation Radio (LINK TO LISTEN LIVE).

"I think it all starts with the offensive game plan. Last year, Matt Canada who at the time was the quarterback coach now he's the offensive coordinator, he had a lot of say in the first seven or eight weeks of the season and you saw some things like jet sweeps and a lot of motion, and all of that just went away, and nobody really knows why,"  Strackbein said on the collapse of the Steelers offense last season.

While it doesn't look to be Ben Roethlisberger's last year in the NFL, the Steelers don't have a stable backup plan at quarterback, and it all points to Roethlisberger sticking around until they have his successor.

"It led to a total collapse in the offense and if you're not running the ball, if you're only throwing the ball in RPOs, you're not going to get much done, and this year if it's going to bounce back, it all starts with Matt Canada and a brand new offense," Strackbein said.

In the first round, the Steelers drafted running back Najee Harris of Alabama in what many believe is the missing piece in the Steelers' offense.

The defense has continuity, with outside linebacker TJ Watt coming off a season in which he was selected AFC Defensive Player of the Year, and defensive end Cam Hayward made the Pro Bowl for the fourth time.

Watt and Heyward can cause havoc to any offensive line.

The Steelers have players like defensive back Antoine Brooks Jr., a former sixth-round pick from Maryland. A year ago, coaches believed he could only play safety. This year, his versatility has allowed him to play safety and nickel, where, the Steelers plan to utilize him the most.

The Steelers organization is probably one of the best in the NFL. They have ownership stability and Mike Tomlin arguably is the most underrated head coach in the NFL.

Tomlin has had the Steelers in contention of winning the division and winning the Super Bowl virtually every year.

According to Strackbein, the Steelers can potentially end the season with a 9-8 record after having the most demanding schedule in the NFL. If something goes wrong, then the whole season will go bad.

The ceiling for the Steelers is winning 12 or 13 games this season and winning the AFC North championship.

If the Raiders' defense turns things around early and prevails over the Steelers' struggling offense, then the Silver and Black could come up with a massive victory on the road.

If the Raiders return to their old ways on the road, then this should be an easy win for the Steelers at home.

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