After last weeks 15-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings, the 49ers(2-0) travel across the bay to take on the Oakland Raiders(2-0) in the Battle of the Bay: Preseason Edition. The 3rd preseason game is usually the dress rehearsal for the regular season. So expect the starters to go later into the game then normal. Vernon Davis probably will not play. Frank Gore might see a series or two. We still don't know whether Michael Crabtree will play, but he has returned to practice. And with that I will take a look at 5 things to look for in Saturday nights game.
1. Michael Crabtree's first game in Oakland
I'm sure Michael Crabtree, Al Davis, and Raider and 49er fans have had this one circled on their calender since it was revealed we would travel to Napa. Of course we all know what happened during last years draft day. Lets see if Crabs can prove to Davis why he should of drafted him. Even though it's just a preseason game, I'm sure he would like to show of a little bit in front of the Raider Crowd and make them wonder, what could of been? But he will be going up against one of the best corners in the league in Nnamdi Asomugha.
2. Offensive line
The rookies struggled last week, Anthony Davis had a false start and was beat a few times, on the other side Mike Iupati was called for a holding penalty on a run play. The Raiders don't have a bad defensive line. With a declining, although still very good, Richard Seymour, an improving Tommy Kelly, rookie LaMarr Houston, and ex-Brown linebacker Cameron Wimbley, who had 4 sacks last week against the Bears. The line will have their work cut out for them. But if they can handle the Colts and Vikings defenses, I'm sure they will handle this one. It might even be as easy as stealing candy from Al Davis.
3. Run Defense
Our defense has played very good so far, especially our starters, who allowed 10 points to Peyton Manning and only 3 to the Vikings. The run defense has played very good, limiting the Colts to just 54 yards on the ground and 80 to the Vikings, with 48 of those yards coming from Joe Webb's TD run. They will have to face Michael Bush, who is one of my fantasy sleepers, and the Raiders struggling offensive line
These two were on last week's things to watch, and boy were they something to watch. Briggs had a nice 9-yard sack, and LaBoy also had a sack and 3 qb hits. I'm sure Coach Manusky will send these two at the quarterback plenty of times to see what they can do. It will be interesting if they keep playing the way they are, because the coaching staff will have a tough choice on deciding between the two. A positive for Briggs is that he has been consistently playing good, he's younger(24) then LaBoy(29), and is cheaper.
5. Ted Ginn's hands
He struggled last week with 2 drops, but had a nice catch for 60 yards. He could of easily had 100 yards, but he didn't. We'll see how he does against Chris Johnson. A drop or two would not ease some of the worries about him going into the season. I am also wondering if he will return kicks. Bobby Guillory had returned every kick and punt last week. Why isn't he and Zeigler out there? Keeping them fresh maybe? We'll see come kickoff.
The Raiders host the 49ers on Saturday night at 6pm. I don't know what channel it is on in the Bay Area, but for those of you that live in Los Angeles and the cities around it, it is on KTLA ch. 5.