The 2015 NFL regular season is still two weeks away, but “Sunday Night Football” is back this weekend. The Oakland Raiders are set to host the Arizona Cardinals at O.co Coliseum in the final game of Week 3 of the preseason.
Oakland is gearing up for their regular season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals, while Arizona will face the New Orleans Saints in their first game. The Cardinals have scored 19 points in each of their exhibition games, going 0-2 to start the preseason.
Oakland has high hopes for third-round pick Clive Walford, but the tight end is battling a hamstring injury that will force him to miss the team’s third preseason game. He’s practiced just twice during training camp, and it’s unknown when he’ll be back on the field. Roy Helu didn’t play in either of the first two exhibition games, but the running back was back on the field this week and should get some playing time on Sunday.
Running back Chris Johnson was expected to miss a week or two with a hamstring injury, but he was reportedly back at practice on Friday. It’s unknown if he’ll play on Sunday. Wide receiver Michael Floyd definitely won’t play against the Raiders, recovering from dislocated fingers, and he might not be ready for Week 1 of the regular season. Tight end Troy Niklas is suffering from a hamstring injury, and the Cardinals don’t know when he’ll return.
Players to Watch
The Raiders’ running game was a big weakness last year, and they are looking for all the help they can get. Undrafted rookie Michael Dyer is making the case to not only make the team, but also get a significant amount of carries. Latavius Murray has looked like a No.1 running back in his limited time on the field, and he’ll look to continue that on Sunday. Helu was brought in to be a third-down back, and Oakland will finally get a chance to see what he can do.
Johnson is no longer the running back that he once was, and head coach Bruce Arians has a lot of decisions to make at that position. Andre Ellington and rookie David Johnson will be competing for carries, so it should be interesting to see how they perform on Sunday night. Running backs Marion Grice and Stepfan Taylor could see a lot of time in the backfield in the second half, and they are competing just to make the final roster.
Where to watch
The game will air nationally at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. An online stream can be seen for free with NBC Sports Live Extra.