The Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders will meet on Friday night in Week Three of the 2013 NFL preseason. Both teams enter the contest at 1-1, and will give their starters the opportunity to play most of the way.
The game won’t affect the regular season standings, but it might have a lot more importance for the Raiders than it does for the Bears. Chicago is coming off a 10-6 2012 season that saw them barely miss the playoffs. Oakland won four games, missing the postseason for the 10th consecutive year and is still trying to see what their team will look like when games start to matter in two weeks.
Oakland’s quarterback competition may be coming to an end, shortly. Matt Flynn has had an unofficial hold on the job since the start of training camp, and his first two performances have proven that he should lead the Raiders in 2013. Most recently, Flynn completed 12 of his 16 passes, including one for a touchdown, against the New Orleans Saints. He was sacked five times, but he still outshined Terrelle Pryor, who went one-for-five with just nine yards through the air.
Flynn already doesn’t have a lot of weapons with no established, top receivers, and a starting running back in Darren McFadden that can’t stay healthy. Now, the quarterback will have less protection. Starting left tackle Jared Veldheer has torn triceps and will miss a good portion of the season. Alex Barron has taken over the role, but he struggled against the Saints in his time as Veldheer’s replacement.
Chicago doesn’t have to worry about looking for their starting quarterback. Jay Cutler threw five passes against the San Diego Chargers last week, and should play into the third quarter on Friday night.
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The player the Bears may have to watch the most is Martellus Bennett. The tight end signed with the team in the offseason and could be a big target for Cutler. Through two games, though, Bennett hasn’t caught one pass. However, the five-year veteran isn’t worried about his lack of production.
"In the preseason, those catches don't get you any extra checks," Bennett said, according to ESPN Chicago. "In the regular season, those catches do. We'll take it up a notch. We're not even showing our full hand right now. It's a poker game right now. We have the advantage not showing our hand so nobody knows what our offense is. We are just running basic plays."
Not only are the Bears expected to win, but only the Denver Broncos are bigger favorites this week. They are giving the Raiders four points at the Oakland Coliseum.
The contest is scheduled to kickoff at 10 p.m. ET. It will be broadcast nationally on TV on the NFL Network. Viewers can watch a live stream online with a subscription to NFL Preseason Live.