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Key Matchups To Watch

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Key Matchups: Two storied franchises clash Sunday at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum

Two of the most storied franchises in the NFL will get together Sunday afternoon when the Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers get together at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

Both squads are coming off close losses in Week 13, and while the Silver and Black are playing just for pride down the home stretch, Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers are in dire need of a win to fend off the surging Baltimore Ravens.

Kickoff at the OACC is scheduled for 1:25 pm; let’s take a look at a few matchups that will go a long ways in deciding who comes out of Week 14 with a much-needed “W”.

P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst vs. the Steelers interior line

Coming into Sunday’s clash at the Coliseum, the Steelers boast the No. 4 offense in the NFL, averaging an impressive 413.8 yards per game, but if they do have one offensive shortcoming it’s the running game, and that was with James Conner in the mix.

The second-year running back has enjoyed an ultra-productive 2018 season stepping in to fill the void left by Le’Veon Bell, but a sprained ankle will keep him out of the lineup against the Silver and Black.

In his stead, the Steelers will look to Jaylen Samuels to pick up where Conner left off, but no disrespect to Mr. Samuels, the real battle for the ground game will begin up front.

The past two weeks, Raiders have had their fair share of challenges limiting the opposing team on the ground, but a big day for the two rookies in the middle of the defensive line would go a long way in helping secure the Silver and Black’s third win of 2018.

Daryl Worley vs. Antonio Brown

Where to begin with Antonio Brown?

The All-Everything wide receiver has already eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiving mark in 2018, and while he’s technically not even the leading receiver on his own team (that designation belongs to JuJu Smith-Schuster), his 12 receiving touchdowns are the most in the NFL.

Plain and simple, AB is an absolute menace for opposing defenses, and the type of dude who can single-handedly break open a game in a span of a few moments.

Daryl Worley – along with Gareon Conley, Nick Nelson, and whoever else gets a shot at him come Sunday – will have their hands full, no doubt about it.

That said, as much of a challenge as Brown is – and let’s be clear, he’s a big one – the Raiders defensive backs are coming off a performance where they limited Tyreek Hill to just a single catch last weekend.

Worley, Conley and Co., are playing an improved brand of football over the last month, and they’re really going to have to put together a complete outing Sunday if they want to limit No. 84.

Derek Carr vs. Ben Roethlisberger

Let’s be real, both these teams are squads that will go as far as they respective quarterbacks will take them.

Derek Carr is coming off arguably his best performance of 2018, a three-touchdown, no interception outing against the Chiefs, while Big Ben has thrown for over 300 yards in three of his past four outings.

Much like last weekend’s opponent, the Steelers score points at a high clip, so scoring touchdowns will be at a premium.

I’m 100 percent here to see a bunch of points Sunday afternoon, particularly with two of the best quarterbacks in the AFC on the same field.

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