The Oakland Raiders head out on the road on Friday night, August 17, to take on the Arizona Cardinals. The game kicks off at 10:07 p.m. ET, televised locally. However, the NFL Network will rebroadcast the game at 1:00 a.m. ET for the rest of the nation.
The big news coming into the Raiders vs. Cardinals game is that sources claim John Skelton is the favorite to win the starting job over Kevin Kolb, who signed a big contract with Arizona in 2011. If Kolb comes out against Oakland and falls flat, the job could change hands this week.
Another player needing a good showing is Beanie Wells. The explosive running back came off the PUP list and hopes to pick up where he left off in 2011, when he broke his first 1,000 yard season. The problem is that he gets hurt too much. He needs to show he is back strong, or he could fall behind Ryan Williams in the lineup.
Wide receiver Michael Floyd also hopes to make a good showing. He is a great talent and wants to prove his first-round draft position was worth it. With Larry Fitzgerald on the other side of the field, there is a good chance Arizona has found their replacement for Anquan Boldin.
The Raiders vs. Cardinals game is the first road contest for new head coach Dennis Allen, the youngest coach in the NFL. Oakland lost their first game of the 2012 NFL preseason against the Dallas Cowboys, 3-0, in a contest where neither team could get into the end zone.
Quarterback Carson Palmer continues to try to find his ground in the Raiders' offense. After Oakland threw him into the starting lineup, midway through the 2011 season, he struggled at times in the new schemes. Now, with a new head coach, Palmer learns another new system. In the first preseason game, he finished 4-of-7 for 38 yards and an interception.
Darren McFadden was the only spark in the Raiders' offense against Dallas, which is huge news since he is the most valuable player on the team. Oakland now needs to find his backup, with Mike Goodson and Taiwan Jones competing for the job. With Jones out this game due to injury, Goodson can prove he deserves the job.
Denarius Moore will miss the game at receiver, so Jacoby Ford and Darrius Heyward-Bey get another chance to prove they belong in the starting lineup.
Oakland leads the preseason series against Arizona, 7-5, and the regular season series, 5-3.
Image from Wikimedia Commons.