NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Players to Watch in Week 8

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5 Pittsburgh Steelers Players to Watch in Week 8

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

This Sunday, the NFL will see two 2-4 teams clash when the Pittsburgh Steelers travel out west to face the Oakland Raiders. The Steelers are a team that is finally getting things together after losing their first four games of the season, and are on a two-game winning streak. As for the Raiders, they’ll be entering the contest on the heels of their Week 7 bye.

Both teams are at the bottom of their respective divisions, and will need this game to help them get one step closer to a possible playoff berth.

In Week 3 of last season, Pittsburgh and Oakland went head-to-head with the Raiders prevailing in a 34-31 shootout. Although this game is only one year removed, there will be some differences seen from both teams.

Last year against the Raiders, Pittsburgh didn’t rely much on their running game simply because it wasn’t very productive. Now, they will lean on the legs of rookie running back Le’Veon Bell, who has established himself as the Steelers’ feature back.

On the other sideline, Oakland will have the athletic presence of quarterback Terrelle Pryor under center instead of Carson Palmer. The Raiders’ dual-threat signal-caller will keep Pittsburgh’s defense on their toes all game long.

For the Steelers, many players will have significant roles in pursuit of the team’s third win of the year. Although every part will be important, there are some that stand out much more than others. I’ve come up with the five players who will definitely need to play big in order for Pittsburgh to come back to the Steel City with a victory. Let’s take a look.

Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+

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5. Lawrence Timmons

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Linebacker Lawrence Timmons has been arguably the best defensive player for the Steelers thus far this season. The seven-year pro leads Pittsburgh in tackles, and will be responsible for keeping an eye on Pryor and trying to contain him when he rolls outside of the pocket. Pryor is third in the league in rushing among all quarterbacks.

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4. Heath Miller

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Week after week, tight end Heath Miller has improved on his receiving yardage. Looking at last year’s high-scoring affair and the recent emergence of Pittsburgh’s running game, Miller is primed to have a big game on Sunday, and could potentially have his first 100-yard game of the season.

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3. Shaun Suisham

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

How can kicker Shaun Suisham not be considered important? The nine-year veteran is a perfect 14-for-14 on the season, and has scored 48 percent of the Steelers’ 107 points on the year. As long as Suisham is automatic, Pittsburgh should be within striking distance for a win.

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2. Antonio Brown

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

In last year’s battle between these two teams, wide receiver Antonio Brown finished the game with seven catches for 87 yards and a touchdown. However, the leading receiver was Mike Wallace, who had eight receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown. Now that Wallace is out of the picture and Brown is now the no. 1 guy at receiver, a big day could potentially be in order for Brown, along with Miller.

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1. Ben Roethlisberger

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After starting the season off with a plethora of turnovers, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t given the ball away in the team’s last two games. Just like Brown, Roethlisberger had a big game last year against the Raiders. Big Ben finished the contest passing for 384 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Hopefully lightening will strike twice in the Coliseum.