The Oakland Raiders, coming off a loss in their first preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals, welcome the Los Angeles Rams, who won their first game against the Dallas Cowboys (10pm ET Saturday).
Here is what to expect in the second preseason game of the year for the two teams followed by this preview’s predictions and betting picks:
Jared Goff’s Chance to Shine
When it comes to the preseason, it’s hard to really put a barometer on what to expect. That’s because a few series of rusty football is far from indicative of what a player might bring to the regular season by the time training camp is over. That being said, QB for the Los Angeles Rams, Jared Goff, didn’t really have the chance to show much in his first game, completing just three passes over two series of play. This week however, Goff will be running the offense and should see anywhere from two to two and half quarters of action.
Excitement for Goff, the Rams and of course LA fans is that this week’s game against the Raiders will be the first time that Sammy Watkins, who was acquired as part of a three-team trade last week, will line up for game action for LA. According to reports from practice, Watkins has already been making a huge impact and showing off a lot of his incredible talent at the wide receiver position. This is extremely promising for LA, who finally has a top weapon for Goff to throw to.
The chemistry between these two players has developed quite nicely in practices but Saturday’s game will be the first real test for the duo. All indications point to both playing a significant amount of time as the Goff-Watkins connection continues to establish. With Goff finally having a true number one receiver in Watkins, this is his chance to prove himself as a top young quarterback in this league.
Derek Carr’s First Game Back
The Oakland Raiders seemed ready to make noise in the playoffs last year until the opposite of a Christmas miracle happened. Derek Carr, in the fourth quarter of a Christmas Eve game against the Indianapolis Colts, got hit hard by Trent Cole on a sack and broke his leg. Carr missed the next two games for Oakland, including their first round playoff loss to the Houston Texans.
A huge part of the Raiders going 12-3 prior to the injury, having Carr back and seemingly at 100 percent is the best news Oakland and their fans can hope for. So far in practice Carr has looked good with no setbacks being reported. This is his first game action however and while Carr is slated to play the first two quarters, anything could change especially since left tackle, Donald Penn, who protects Carr’s blindside is out himself due to a hold-out.
With Carr easing back into game action, the Raiders could look to showcase the other element to their offense, that of the running game and Marshawn Lynch. Lynch, who last played competitive football in 2015 and had seemingly retired, has looked pretty solid in camp thus far ahead of his first season with Oakland. At 31, he still has the ability to run hard and adds an element to Oakland’s offense that they didn’t have last year. Only twice on the year did Oakland have an individual 100-yard rusher but with Lynch as their main carry back, this should absolutely change.
The Rams and Raiders are two young teams with several moving parts to be figured out before the start of the regular season and this tilt could be very informative.
The Rams will look to showcase Goff, Watkins and Todd Gurley, who has a lot of pressure on him right now considering his last season was really disappointing. This could very well be a make or break year for Gurley given how well Justin Davis, an undrafted free agent, has looked in camp.
In addition to seeing the first action from Carr and Lynch in quite a while, another name Oakland will expect to see on the field for at least a quarter or so, is the reigning defensive player of the year, Kahlil Mack.
Our Preview’s LA Rams vs Oakland Raiders Predictions & Picks
The US friendly online bookies make Oakland a three-point favorite. This isn’t that surprising and given LA’s offense provides less of a challenge than Arizona’s did last week, all signs point to Oakland’s defense really having that showcase game they are capable of. With a combination of first and second stringers taking snaps on Saturday, the Raiders will look to impose their will and physical dominance as they continue to tune-up for what they hope is another great season.