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Raiders Mailbag: How will the offense handle playing in frigid, hostile territory?

Darrin Matthew Voris says:

"Run, Run, Run, Run."

Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes.

It would make logical sense to feed Josh Jacobs the ball as much as possible. For starters, he's leading the league in rushing yards – averaging 106.8 rushing yards per game this season. The Raiders are 5-1 in games in which the 2023 Pro Bowler has at least 100 rushing yards and 3-0 in games in which he has multiple rushing touchdowns.

Additionally, it's going to get really cold in Pittsburgh this Saturday. The current forecast projects nine degrees with 20 mph winds at kickoff, making it potentially an ideal situation to run the ball with a tough Tulsa, Oklahoma, native that's historically performed well in cold weather games.

"[T]hese games late in the year, running the football, being able to try to gain control of the line of scrimmage is important," said Head Coach Josh McDaniels. "JJ [Josh Jacobs] has obviously done a great job all year for us in his role. He'd probably be the first one to tell you that there's a lot that goes into that – certainly the guys up front, the tight ends, the fullback, the receivers blocking for him have done a good job, and obviously, that'll be an important part of this weekend."

Nothing will come easy for Jacobs this weekend though, as the Pittsburgh Steelers have the seventh-best rushing defense in the league.

David Del Purgatorio says:

"Protect Derek Carr. ... Limiting his time in a clean pocket will give Pittsburgh more possessions."

Despite the revolving rotation of the starting offensive line this season, they've been able to keep Derek Carr fairly clean through the latter half of the season.

Carr's 4.8 sack percentage is the seventh lowest among starting quarterbacks, and his pocket time per play (2.6 seconds) is the third highest in the NFL. The offensive line has proven to be one of the deepest units on the Raiders, highlighted even more with the play of Jordan Meredith and Hroniss Grasu in the win against the Patriots. Both players filled in for injured guards Alex Bars and rookie Dylan Parham.

"[J]ust being ready to go and taking advantage of the opportunity when your time comes and preparing like you're going to play," offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi said Tuesday. "Saturday evening, I was coming back from night meetings and Jordan's in there watching tape, getting ready to go and he was just preparing like he was going to start. And sure enough, he went in there in the second quarter and had to play. So, I think that speaks volumes to the type of character we have in the offensive line room."

It's still unclear whether Parham and Bars will be ready to play Saturday, as both were limited participants in Wednesday's walkthrough. Nevertheless, the offensive line as a whole must be fully prepared for a formidable Steelers pass rush.

"They're a tight knit group and they all depend on each other," added Lombardi. "I think they have the mentality of next man up and we will all play as one collective unit, which I think really carries over as you see that on Sunday and that carried over in those situations."

Throughout the 2022 season, the Silver and Black have welcomed six children from the Make-A-Wish foundation to tour Raiders HQ, meet the team and attend a game at Allegiant Stadium.

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