Oakland Raiders: 7 Things To Watch For In Second Preseason Game

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Dec 7, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack (52), defensive tackle Antonio Smith (94) and defensive end Justin Tuck (91) sack San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) during the fourth quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Oakland Raiders defeated the San Francisco 49ers 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

5. Can The Defense Keep Up The Pressure?

The defense as a whole did a pretty solid job against the Rams, limiting them to 285 yards of total offense. They generated pressure all over the field and seemed to keep St. Louis on their heels for most of the game – a very nice change of pace after the 52-0 thrashing they took at the Edward Jones dome last season.

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Khalil Mack and rookie Ben Heeney, in particular, were always around the ball and in somebody’s face. That sort of frenetic energy they brought to the defense – along with the attention they garnered because of it – allowed Heeney, Shelby Harris, and John Shirley to record sacks for a Raiders defense that had precious few of them this year.

Though Oakland was not able to pick off any passes, they also did not give up a lot of yardage through the air – 199 total yards. It’s an encouraging sign for a secondary that has as many questions as Oakland’s does.

But Minnesota presents a number of different challenges that will provide a very good test and measuring stick for the Raiders’ defensive progress.

The Vikings have a more mobile quarterback in last year’s first round pick Teddy Bridgewater. He put together a pretty decent rookie season, has been solid, and relatively accurate. Bridgewater is developing into a solid starting quarterback – and having AP back running the football is only going to help him.

Adding to Minnesota’s arsenal of weapons are receiver Mike Wallace – a new addition to the Viking offense – to go along with fellow receivers Charles Johnson and Cordarrelle Patterson, as well as tight end Kyle Rudolph, who is a threat to catch the ball.

Minnesota has a few more weapons at the ready than the Rams did. Seeing how the Raiders fare against that arsenal will be very telling.

Next: 4. Consistency Is The Key