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We’ve got a battle between two west coast teams here as the Oakland Raiders travel to the desert to take on the Arizona Cardinals. The Raiders picked up a win over the Rams in their first preseason game, while the Cardinals beat the Chargers. This will be the second pro game for Kyler Murray, while Derek Carr will likely make his 2019 debut for Oakland.
Raiders Win Opener
The Raiders’ season didn’t go as planned last year. The first year of the second Jon Gruden era in Oakland went off the rails quickly, and the Raiders limped to a 4-12 finish. They ended up with the fourth overall pick in the draft, which they used on Clemson pass-rusher Clelin Ferrell. Thanks to the Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper trades they had two more first-round picks, so they’ve got an influx of young talent.
They, of course, traded for Antonio Brown this offseason, and added fellow receiver Tyrell Williams in free agency. Brown is now threatening to retire, so it’s safe to say it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for the Raiders recently. Unfortunately, the offensive line is a bit undermanned right now, as Richie Incognito is suspended and fellow guard Gabe Jackson is hurt. Gruden can’t afford an injury right now, so expect him to be very cautious with his O-line here. If the O-line isn’t playing much, I wouldn’t expect to see too much Derek Carr here either.
Carr didn’t play in the preseason opener, and I wouldn’t expect more than a quarter from him at the most. Mike Glennon and Nathan Peterman handled all the snaps last week, and they held down the fort well enough. The Raiders beat the Rams 17-3, although there’s a pretty big caveat. Rams coach Sean McVay is one of the most conservative coaches in the entire league when it comes to the preseason, and he doesn’t try at all to win or play anyone who matters. As such, I’m not impressed by the 17-3 win moving forward.
More Time For Murray Here
The Cardinals managed to do much worse than the Raiders last year. They were bad enough to earn the first overall pick, and they canned head coach Steve Wilks after just one season at the helm. Wilks wasn’t the only one they gave up on after just one year, as they also got rid of 2018 first-round pick Josh Rosen. They traded Rosen away to make room for Kyler Murray, who they drafted first overall back in April. They hired Kliff Kingsbury to be their new head coach, and they’re hoping the young offensive guru can do something similar to what McVay has done with the Rams. They’ve got Vance Joseph coordinating an aggressive defense now, and hopes are relatively high in Arizona.
Buzzed through the #Cardinals offensive starters really quick this afternoon. Not shocked at all about KeeSean Johnson’s buzz this summer. Saw routes like this all over his Fresno State film (minus the penalty). They kept it easy for Kyler, quick game, well-defines throws pic.twitter.com/ao4UnWjsmO
— Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) August 9, 2019
Murray made his highly anticipated pro debut last week and he looked pretty good in limited action, completing six of seven passes. He should get a lot more run here, as Kingsbury will want him to get as many reps as possible in his offense before the season starts.
WR Larry Fitzgerald spoke about Murray to the media.
“When you look in his eyes, there’s nothing timid about him,” Cardinals veteran receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. “He looks confident, he looks ready to go and that’s a great sign for a young quarterback.”
Brett Hundley will come in after him and he was solid in the first game, completing ten of 14 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. As for the skill guys, the Cards have a ton of young receivers who all have some promise. Depth is king during the preseason and matters more than having elite talent, and Arizona has a pretty deep pool of receivers. Guys like Hakeem Butler and KeeSean Johnson need to prove themselves here, and this will be a huge opportunity for them.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I like the Cardinals a lot at home here. The Raiders beat the Rams in Week 1, but that doesn’t mean anything considering the Rams don’t play any of their good players during the preseason. Exhibition games seem to be pretty important to Kingsbury, and I think he’s going to let Murray play a good amount here to help him build chemistry. The Cardinals also have a much deeper receiving corp which should help out.
Full-Game Total Pick
I’m also playing the under here. There were only 17 points scored in the Raiders’ first preseason game, and 31 in the Cardinals’. Both teams were going all-out on defense, which is an encouraging sign for this under. Glennon and Peterman should see most of the action again here for the Raiders, which doesn’t bode too well for scoring chances.