Oakland boasts the fastest offense in the NFL.
If each franchise formed a 4×100-meter dash team, the Raiders would smoke everyone. The average 40-time of its starting running backs and wide receivers-Darren McFadden, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore-is 4.33 seconds. That's insane.
But while the Pittsburgh Steelers, who'll face off against the Silver and Black in Week 3, must respect the Raiders' speed, they have no reason to fear their offensive attack as a whole. Through the first two weeks of the season, Oakland averaged 13.5 points per game-the second-worst mark in the league. And considering that the Steelers just held the New York Jets-a team that dropped 48 on the Buffalo Bills-to 13 points, Oakland's offense won't be able to march against them.
That doesn't mean the goose egg is in the bag, though-not even close. The Raiders' unique assortment of elite athletes makes them a threat to score on every single play. In the words of Gale Sayers, all they need is, "18 inches of daylight."
Now, despite the fact that Troy Polomalu and James Harrison haven't suited up yet this season, Lebeau's defense is ranked No. 7 in yards allowed. But Lebeau will be shorthanded with Polomalu and Harrison in street clothes once again at Oakland. And his shorthanded stop unit has struggled to prevent home runs in 2012 thus far.
Pittsburgh is one of only eight teams that have surrendered multiple runs of 40 yards or longer. They've also allowed a pass of 40-plus yards. Against an explosive Raiders offense, the Steelers must stiffen up.
While the Raiders' running game hasn't consistently produced this year, they'll continue to pound the rock. According to the Associated Press, Carson Palmer talked about Oakland's ground woes up to this point in the season. He said:
"You don't let it frustrate you. The saving grace is, you know McFadden is back there. One arm tackle away from breaking off a 40-, 50-yarder. He's got that potential, he's got that ability, he's done it before. We're going to stick with it. We're not frustrated. We're disappointed in ourselves for not executing it better but we're not going to let it frustrate us, we're not going to let it deter it from our goal."
And with Taiwon Jones still banged up and Moore coming off an injury, Pittsburgh will see plenty of D-Mac on Sunday. His 2.1 yards per carry average doesn't intimidate, but if he gets just a few more yards past his average and breaks into the second level, he's gone.
As long as the Steelers prevent that from happening, they'll manhandle Oakland.