For most NFL teams, the fourth preseason game means very little. A couple of series for the starters maybe and lots of time for the young guys fighting in their last audition for a chance to make the final 53-man roster.
For the Oakland Raiders, this game in Seattle against the Seahawks will mean a whole lot more. With Terrelle Pryor making his first start of the preseason, the importance of this game ramps up immensely.
Pryor was very impressive last week against the Chicago Bears completing seven of nine passes for 93 yards, a touchdown and rushing four times for 37 yards and another touchdown. With another impressive performance against a Seahawks defense that is one of the most stout in the NFL, Pryor could overtake Matt Flynn for the starting job when the Raiders travel to Indianapolis for their regular season opener against the Colts.
The Seahawks will provide a very stern test for the Raiders offense. The first team offense under Flynn has yet to score a touchdown in the preseason and Pryor will be looking to change that. One way he could get some help is with the play of Menelik Watson, who will be making his first start at left tackle.
With Jared Veldheer out, the rookie 2nd-round pick could lock down the starting LT position with a good showing tonight. Dealing with Seahawks DE Chris Clemons will be a good first test for the rookie.
Defensively, we will get to see more of rookie D.J. Hayden as he gets more game experience before the start of the regular season. Sidney Rice and Golden Tate are very good receivers who will test the Raiders secondary. The most important area for the defense against the Seahawks will be the D-Line as the Seahawks are an extremely physical offense that loves to run the ball with the talented Marshawn Lynch. Pete Carroll is known to play his starters a little bit in the last preseason games so expect to see a decent amount of Russell Wilson and co.
The crowd will also play a factor as CenturyLink Field is known to be one of the loudest in the NFL. The offense will have to work hard to communicate well in such a hostile environment.
Chris Kluwe and Marquette King continue their battle to be the starting punter on opening night. It is a very close battle which might mean the Raiders could edge it to the younger, more powerful King, but Kluwe is the more sure thing so time will tell.
This is the Raiders’ final preseason game and some progression needs to be seen.