Coming off of a stunning victory last weekend, the Las Vegas Raiders have their sights set on their next big game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh today in the evening. The game is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. EST which means extremely cold weather and a shorter rest week. With the playoffs in mind for both teams, the Silver and Black are going to have to face more than the elements in order to pull off a postseason run.
The Raiders are going up against Mother Nature herself
The first major concern is Mother Nature herself. Wind speeds of 16 mph and a freezing temperature of 11 degrees make for a horrible combination. You can expect sidelines filled with heaters, beanies and big jackets. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr isn’t one to do so well in these conditions, unfortunately. Record-wise, Carr is 0-6 in games where the weather was 37 degrees or colder.
In a recent presser, the Las Vegas quarterback said, “And so for us, it’s all about the execution of the football plays and trying to win the football game no matter whether it’s inside, outside, whatever that is.” He says his strategy of preparation is more mental than physical.
Win it for Mr. Franco Harris
Another concern is the motivation for a Steelers team who lost one of their most beloved players ever. We’re referring to Pro Football Hall of Famer, Franco Harris. Harris was famous for the “Immaculate Reception” game, one of the most iconic NFL moments in history. It took place in a 1972 AFC divisional playoff game between the Raiders and the Steelers. He was the player who caught the ball before it hit the ground after bouncing off of running back John Fuqua’s hands and ran it in for the game-winning touchdown.
Everyone was shocked by Harris’s untimely death earlier this week. Even sadder is the fact that his jersey number was going to be retired this weekend. Obviously, that would’ve coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception. With emotions running high, the death of the Pittsburgh legend will definitely be fuel for the Steelers. “He dedicated so much of his time to help football and the next generation of football, and to their organization, everyone who’s been impacted by him there and in that community,” said Carr in the same presser.
Can the Raiders’ defense keep it together?
The final concern for the Silver and Black is their defense. A key cog in their defense, cornerback Rock Ya-Sin, is out for his third consecutive game. On top of that, Las Vegas is coming off of some terrible run defense against the New England Patriots. Running back Rhamondre Stevenson ran through the team last week and with the weather conditions of this game, a run-heavy offense can be anticipated from both sides. Defensive captain Maxx Crosby will definitely have to do what he can in order to keep everyone on the same page. If not, the playoffs will start to look like an unattainable goal.
*Top Photo: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal