The Pittsburgh Steelers began their 2021 campaign on a good note with an impressive 23-16 win over the Buffalo Bills. After securing their first victory of the season, they will look to keep the momentum going as they look to host the visiting Las Vegas Raiders on their home turf for Week 2 proceedings.
Their opponents, on the other hand, also came up with a thrilling 33-27 overtime victory over the Baltimore Ravens. Going up against a Jon Gruden-led team that gained more confidence from their first win will surely pose a sizable challenge for the Steelers. Head coach Mike Tomlin himself will be expecting a couple of his players to step up and contribute on both ends of the field in order for them to snag their second win of the season.
Here are the Pittsburgh Steelers X-Factors in their upcoming game against the Raiders on Sunday:
Pittsburgh Steelers X-Factors for Steelers-Raiders Week 2
Right when he was drafted, everyone already knew that rookie running back Najee Harris will play a pivotal role within the team’s offensive attack this season. In the first game of his pro career against the Bills, the Alabama product didn’t disappoint as he immediately made an impact on the team. In fact, Harris played on all offensive snaps for the Steelers and ended the game with 45 rushing yards and 16 touches.
It was a good start for the rookie but he will definitely have to do more if he wants to give the Steelers a greater edge on the offensive end. Certainly enough, it won’t be an easy game for him as he tries to find the endzone against a capable Raiders defense that was able to show its capability when they successfully limited a Lamar Jackson-led squad back in Week 1.
At the end of the day, the performance of the Steelers’ offensive line will greatly dictate how much Harris can contribute in the game. Nonetheless, it is expected that Harris will still have his touches and his level of production will continue to be a crucial factor for the Pittsburgh Steelers as they aim to go up 2-0 to start the season.
Prior to their Week 1 game against the Bills, star linebacker T.J. Watt finally reaped the fruits of his labor as he inked his massive new contract with the Steelers. He did put up a valiant effort with three total tackles in their first game of the season though his teammates were able to outperform him on the field.
His fellow linebacker in Devin Bush Jr. led the defensive corps with six total tackles while star safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and cornerback James Pierre also tallied identical numbers against the Bills.
Overall, it was an impressive showing from defensive coordinator Keith Butler and his men as they were able to contain Josh Allen and the rest of the Bills offense. Heading to Week 2, Watt will have to raise his game and come out with more effort as they try to limit a Raiders team that was able to get a confidence-boosting win over the Ravens last week.
Ultimately, the Pittsburgh Steelers were able to show that they are currently in great shape and are now ready to wreak havoc against the rest of the league moving forward. They remain to be in a good position to win over the Raiders though T.J. Watt will have to level up his game in order to successfully secure their second win of the season on their home turf.