Oakland Raiders vs. Arizona Cardinals
The Oakland Raiders and the Arizona Cardinals meet for their first preseason game of the 2011 NFL season. The Raiders are -3.5 favorites over the Cardinals with an over/under point total set at 33.5.
The Oakland Raiders showed a lot to look forward to towards the end of last season and for the first time in a while there appears to be hope for a return to glory, or at least a return to the playoffs. While the Raiders are further removed from JaMarcus Russell, it is now on Jason Campbell to fulfill his potential like he never was able to do in Washington or to make way for Trent Edwards who couldn’t make it in Buffalo but with Kyle Boller the only other QB on the roster, someone is going to have to step up and make it happen. At Running Back the Raiders have a formidable tandem in Darren McFadden and Michael Bush but it tails off in a hurry to Michael Bennett and Taiwan Jones. Oakland has spent considerable resources to build their receiving corps and it’s time for it to pay dividends as Jacoby Ford is a guy who can do it all and is one of the fastest players in the NFL while former first rounder Darius Heyward-Bey will need to put up numbers to avoid the bust tag. Chad Jackson and Louis Murphy are more guys who can fly while Derek Hagen should contribute and I see Denarius Moore making an impact on this roster. With Zach Miller gone at Tight End Kevin Boss is in but look for Richard Gordon to surprise some people here. Defensively Oakland lost Nnamdi Asomugha but they have plenty of talent with Richard Seymor, Rolando McClain, and Kamerion Wimbley up front though they will need to fill that void in the secondary. The Raiders have a weapon at punter with Shane Lechler and Sebastian Janikowski still has the range though he missed some chip shots which cost the Raiders badly.
The Arizona Cardinals have been struggling at QB since the retirement of Kurt Warner but they hope their prayers have been answered. The Cardinals went out and acquired Kevin Kolb who they hope will be just the guy to get it to their talented receiving corps. When it isn’t Kolb it will be John Skelton who is still a work in progress but who now has experience and Richard Bartel out of Tarleton State. At Running Back with Tim Hightower gone it leaves Beanie Wells as the incumbent but look for him to be challenged for the starting spot by Ryan Williams who I predict will be the starter at some point this season and in this game we will see Jason Wright and LaRod Stephens-Howling. At Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald is as good as it gets but who will be his compliment will be fought out over the coming weeks with Stephen Williams, Chansi Stuckey, Andre Roberts, and Early Doucet all looking to emerge with others like Isaiah Williams, Demarco Sampson, Max Komar, and Sean Jeffcoat all looking to make an impact. Todd Heap arrives at Tight End looking to stay healthy and we’ll see Steven Spach plenty in this one. The 434 points Arizona allowed last season was one of the worst in the NFL and if they are going to improve they are going to need to stop someone, that is a definite.
Last year both of these teams were decent in preseason while two years ago they were both awful, it remains to be seen what they do this season. One thing we can look at here is that the Oakland defense has just been much better than Arizona in both the preseason and regular season and if there is any angle at all in this one that is it along with the Raiders being home.
Oakland Raiders -3.5 Arizona Cardinals