The final pre-season game of the 2011 season will see the Oakland Raiders visit the Seahawks in what promises to be a game filled with intriguing storylines throughout. For some fans, they’ll merely be seeking to blow by this game in anticipation of the commencement of the regular season on Thursday. However for others, this game could potentially present the NFL debut of high-profile Raiders quarterback Terelle Pryor.
At the moment, no definitive word exists as to whether or not the former Ohio State star will take snaps for Oakland but with a 5-game suspension looming in the regular season, expect Head Coach Hue Jackson to give his newest addition a taste of NFL action.
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On the other side of the ball, the Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll has remained mum on the playing time for his starters. Typically during the final week of NFL Pre-Season, coaches are very protective of their top players, however by all indications head coach Pete Carroll is planning on breaking tradition and leaving his top players in there a bit longer. Thus far, the first three games of the Seahawks haven’t been kind as Tavaris Jackson has looked shaky throughout, and gone unprotected at times by way of an inexperienced offensive line. Carroll knows these issues must be rectified before the games matter and will use this final test to fine-tune his squad. Seattle is expected to be without star wideout Mike Williams and left tackle Russell Okung, who are both hopeful of being in the lineup next week at San Francisco.
Like Seattle, the Raiders have struggled as well in the pre-season still searching for their first win. However there certainly has been a wealth of positives for Hue Jackson’s squad. Starting quarterback Jason Campbell has looked steady in recent appearances, and rookie running back Taiwan Jones had a dominating performance in their last matchup against the Chargers. Despite an 0-3 record, the Raiders have looked promising and energetic throughout, but are likely to sit the majority of their starters in preparation for their season opener.
Despite the wealth of injuries Seattle is currently faced with, they know they have a long way to go in order to be prepared for next week’s season opener. “I don’t care about tradition in the fourth preseason game, we’ll do what we’ve got to do,” said Carroll in response to the playing time of his starters. This game seems like a classic case of the Raiders trying out new players, and new formations, going up against a team determined to remedy its major flaws before their first game. The line is currently set at 3.5 points in favour of the home Seahawks. Lean with Seattle, they’ve got a lot on the line in this one, and will come out focused in front of their always rowdy home crowd.