Expect an old school smash mouth football game tomorrow in Oakland. Although the Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers are both sporting losing records, both teams are angling for a playoff comeback. In order for the Raiders to send Steelers fans home early, they must get the running game going.
Unfortunately, the Raiders are not equipped with the right personnel to be your typical smash mouth team. Oft-injured running back Darren McFadden has been taken down after first contact all season long and the offensive line has been atrocious. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson must get creative in his offensive play calling by using both Rashad Jennings and Marcel Reece more in the running game.
If the Raiders can get the running game going it will open up the offense for Terrelle Pryor. Pryor’s debacle against Kansas City proved that he is nowhere ready to be the focal point of the offense but he can still be a great system quarterback. The Steelers defense is nowhere close to being the vaunted steel curtain defense that we all hate but they are still dominant on 3rd and long situations. It will be important for the short passing game to going so the Raiders can avoid long third downs. Pryor must find a way to get the ball to Mychal Rivera and Marcel Reece on short routes.
Greg Olson must find a way to pound the rock all day long with all three running backs. Once the Steelers are tired out imagine what the electrifying Pryor can do when running away from the old Steelers defenders. If the Raiders can get the running game going, expect another silver and black victory against the hated Steelers.
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