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Positional breakdown for Raiders vs. Steelers on Sunday

Updated December 8, 2018 - 4:46 pm

The Raiders host the Pittsburgh Steelers at 1:25 p.m. Sunday. Here’s a breakdown by position:


Ben Roethlisberger will make his 211th start for the Steelers. He has yet to defeat the Raiders in Oakland in three starts. He leads the NFL in passing yards (3,945) but has thrown the second-most interceptions (13). Derek Carr has been on the opposite end of the turnover spectrum, as he hasn’t thrown an interception in seven straight games. Carr also had one of his best games of the season last week against the Kansas City Chiefs, going 29 of 38 with three touchdowns.

Advantage: Raiders

Running backs

The Raiders play a team without its leading rusher for the second straight week. The Steelers’ James Conner will miss the game because of a knee injury. Rookie running back Jaylen Samuels is expected to start. Ball security was an issue for Raiders running backs last week. Doug Martin, DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard lost fumbles. Richard leads the team in receptions (56).

Advantage: Raiders

Wide receivers

Steelers wide receivers Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster both have over 1,000 receiving yards — a first for a Pittsburgh wide receiving duo since 2011. Brown leads the NFL in receiving touchdowns with 12, and Smith-Schuster is eight in receiving yards with 1,104. Raiders receivers had their best game last week since the Amari Cooper trade. Jared Cook continues to be one of the NFL’s best receiving tight ends, and Jordy Nelson caught 10 passes for 97 yards. Rookie Marcell Ateman caught his first career touchdown.

Advantage: Steelers

Offensive line

The Steelers are fourth in the NFL in sacks allowed (17). Starting right tackle Marcus Gilbert continues to deal with a knee injury that sidelined him for seven of the team’s first 12 games. The Raiders’ offensive line has allowed 39 sacks. Carr has been sacked in 11 of 12 games.

Advantage: Steelers

Defensive line

The Steelers have the most sacks in the NFL (41), and the Raiders have the least (10). Pittsburgh’s Javon Hargrave leads all nose tackles in sacks with 6.5. The Raiders didn’t sack Patrick Mahomes last week, the third time this season in which they didn’t sack the quarterback.

Advantage: Steelers


Outside linebacker T.J. Watt leads the Steelers’ sack attack with 10. Pittsburgh is ranked eighth in run defense, allowing an average of 100.4 yards. The Raiders have allowed at least 100 rushing yards in the past four games.

Advantage: Steelers


The Steelers have only six interceptions, with three against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3. Pittsburgh’s defensive backs are responsible for only three of the interceptions. The Raiders’ Gareon Conley has emerged in his sophomore season as a reliable cornerback, with 11 passes defended and two interceptions.

Advantage: Raiders

Special teams

Steelers kicker Chris Boswell has had a shaky season. After missing three of his first four field-goal attempts, he has made nine of his past 10. He has missed a league-high five extra points. Daniel Carlson’s only miss as a Raider was against the 49ers, but the rookie has made eight straight since.

Advantage: Raiders


The Raiders again are playing a team in the hunt for the playoffs — Pittsburgh leads the AFC North with a 7-4-1 record. Oakland is looking to continue a trend set by fellow AFC West members: beating the Steelers. Three of Pittsburgh’s losses have been against the AFC West.

Advantage: Steelers

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