In the NFL, the third preseason game is considered the dress rehearsal for the regular season. For the Oakland Raiders, they will be faced with a significant challenge against the Green Bay Packers. Because the Raiders and Packers' starters are expected to play extended time in the game, it will give Oakland a true gage of where they stand against one of the NFL's better teams.
“I said this already, but we’re excited about the opportunity to go up there,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said. “It will be a great environment to play in. Lambeau Field, against the Packers, be a heck of a test for us, a good measuring stick for us and I think our guys are excited and ready to go play.”
In the first two preseason games, the Raiders have left plenty of room for improvement. They came out stagnant and struggled in the opener against the Minnesota Vikings. Last week they played better against the Detroit Lions, but neither the first team offense nor the first team defense are on the same page. Because the starters will not play much in the final preseason game, the game against the Packers is the Raiders last opportunity to build that chemistry together.
For the Raiders defense they will get the chance to test themselves against one of the premier offenses in the NFL. Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers is as good as any in the league. Green Bay also boasts one of the better young running backs in Eddie Lacy and a top notch receiving corps. The Raiders pass defense has had problems in the first two preseason games. Now, they will see Rodgers and company for at least a full half to prepare them for the regular season.
Offensively, the Raiders had played their first team minimally. Quarterback Matt Schaub has not been efficient so far and has not been helped by his receivers or offensive line at times. He needs to play more consistently and show his comfort and command of the offense. The Packers run a 3-4 defense, which will be the first Oakland has seen this preseason. With every team in their division running the 3-4 scheme, it is good preparation.
Green Bay also likes to bring pressure, which is an area the Raiders struggled with against the Lions. The new pieces along the offensive line will have to communicate and play together. The offensive line will also be tasked with opening up holes for the running game, which has been a strong part of the offense thus far.
All in all, the Raiders could not have gotten a better third preseason game opponent because of all the challenges Green Bay presents. The Raiders are running out of time to improve for the regular season, so Friday night's performance is important in taking steps in the right direction.
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