As we continue to countdown the Sundays until the NFL season starts, we will keep predicting the outcome of all 17 games for the Pittsburgh Steelers week by week for the 2021 season. After we predicted the Steelers to go to the Buffalo Bills in Week 1 and come away victorious, the Steelers will come back home for the first game at a packed Heinz Field since the 2019 season.
Since the Steelers opened Heinz Field in 2001, they have an incredible record of 16-3 in home openers. The Steelers also have an extremely high 73% win percentage at home since 2001. The Steelers will welcome their long-time rivals from the 1970’s Las Vegas Raiders to town for their home opener this year and look for their past success to repeat in Week 2.
The Raiders will come to town coming off a 2020 season that was very mixed. They had success early in the season starting 6-3 in their first nine games, but fell off in the end by losing 5 of their last 7 and missing the playoffs for the fourth straight season. The Raiders have not made the playoffs since signing head coach Jon Gruden to a 10-year, 100 million dollar contract in 2018. However, the Raiders beat the Steelers in Oakland during their last match up in 2018 and lead the all-time series 16-13.
Unfortunately for Las Vegas, their recent history against the Steelers won’t be enough to keep the Steelers at bay as they welcome their fans back to Heinz Field. The Steelers will continue their early season success as the Raiders visit town with a secondary that will get exploited by the Steelers dominate passing attack.
The Raiders secondary ranked 31st in the NFL in 2020 and they did very little to address their glaring needs in the offseason. Look for the Steelers three-headed monster receiver core of Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and JuJu Smith-Schuster to take advantage of one of the worst secondary groups in the NFL and record over 200 yards and three scores collectively between the three of them. Also look for rookie running back Najee Harris to start getting involved in the passing game and pick up his first receiving touchdown of his career in Week 2.
The Raiders will keep it close in the first half relying strongly on their running back tandem of Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake to keep them in the game. However, the Steelers dynamic passing attack will prove to be too much to handle and the Steelers will pull away early in the third quarter. The Steelers will start the season 2-0 for the second straight year and look to build momentum going into their Week 3 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Final Prediction: Steelers 28, Raiders 17 (2-0)
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