Oakland Raiders Vs San Francisco 49ers: 10 Matchups in Bay Area Battle
It's time once again for the Bay Area Battle. The Oakland Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers will face each other on Saturday in their third preseason game.
Somebody may have to let the players and fans know it's only a preseason game because you can feel the intensity before the game even starts.
These Bay Area rivals will be clashing for the first time this year, they have another meeting scheduled October 17th.
Last season the 49ers and Raiders practiced together and it sounded like the Niners overpowered the Raiders during their practice.
This year because of their games during the preseason and regular season they did not practice together.
Both teams have coaches who want their players to be physical and beat up other teams. This game, even though it's preseason, should provide a lot of emotion and hard hits.
Let's take a look at 10 matchups to watch when the Raiders play the 49ers.
Rolando McClain Vs Frank Gore
Rolando McClain is the new man in the middle for the Raiders. He was brought in to be the leader of the defense and help stop the run.
Frank Gore is one of the best running backs in the league and he is one of the most physical players as well.
Watching these two guys battle in the first half will be fun for the die hard NFL fans. Will Gore have his way with the Raiders? Or will McClain be stop Gore from running wild?
Raiders Defensive Line Vs 49ers Offensive Line
The Raiders defensive line has been stellar so far in the preseason. They have been able to get to the quarterback at a fairly impressive rate.
They have young guys like Lamarr Houston and Matt Shaughnessy coming hard from the outside and veterans like Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly and John Henderson plugging up the middle.
The 49ers offensive line is looking much better, but they have two rookies starting. The Niners look like they may unleash Frank Gore, so the offensive line needs to play strong.
They will have their hands full with a new and and improved Raiders defensive line.
Michael Crabtree Vs Nnamdi Asomugha
If Michael Crabtree is able to play this weekend (the latest is that he's questionable), he'll be making his first visit to Area: 21 or Nnamdi Land when he lines up against Nnamdi Asomugha.
This will mark the first time Crabtree will face Darrius Heyward-Bey's team. These two players will be linked forever and will forever be compared. Crabtree will have a hard time putting up numbers against Asomugha.
The Raiders are looking to line up Asomugha against the opposing team's best receiver. This should be a fun and exciting match up to watch.
Raiders Secondary Vs Alex Smith
The Raiders secondary is filled with plenty of talent besides Nnamdi Asomugha. Michael Huff, Tyvonn Branch, Chris Johnson, Mike Mitchell and Stanford Routt are just some of the young and talented players the Raiders have.
Alex Smith is a smart quarterback, and he will look for ways to attack the secondary. The Niners, like the Raiders, are a run heavy team but they posses talent in the passing game. If the Niners want to win the game Smith will have to figure out the secondary and try to avoid mistakes when pressure is applied.
Will Smith have a productive game or will the secondary get some take aways?
Kamerion Wimbley Vs Niners Pass Protection
The world witnessed the awakening of a monster in Chicago last week. No I'm not talking about the Monsters of Midway, I'm talking about Kamerion Wimbley. He racked up four sacks in the first half and looked unstoppable.
The Raiders defensive line made it easy for Wimbley to get free and get to the quarterback.
The 49ers will have to make sure the offensive line, running backs and quarterback all account for Wimbley. They must all be on the same page to make sure the pass protection is where it needs to be.
If the 49ers don't account for Wimbley, we may be looking at another great performance by number 96 again.
Michael Bush Vs Patrick Willis
Thunder occurs when two clouds collide first you see the lightning and then you hear the crash. When Michael Bush carries the ball and meets up with Patrick Willis you may see and hear something like that.
Bush is a physical runner that likes to beat up the opposing defense. Willis is a tackling machine that likes to punish the ball carrier.
These two elements make for one great result. In the famous words of former Raiders coach John Madden, "BOOM!"
Make sure you watch and listen when these two physical players collide.
Jason Campbell Vs 49ers Secondary
Jason Campbell looked sharp against the Bears on his opening drive going 5 for 5 and running in for a touchdown. His battle with the 49ers secondary will be just as crucial as Alex Smith's battle with the Raiders secondary.
The Niners secondary must be just as disciplined as the Raiders need to be during the game. The Raiders run a lot of play action passes and San Francisco can't afford to get beat deep.
Campbell is also capable of making plays with his feet, just as Smith, so the Niners need to keep an eye out for Campbell rolling out or taking off with the ball.
Zach Miller Vs 49ers Linebackers
Both Bay Area teams have Pro Bowl caliber tight ends. Zach Miller is in Vernon Davis's league when it comes to talent and what he can bring to a team.
Miller must be accounted for at all times and must be stopped. Jason Campbell loves his tight ends and always seems to find Miller in crucial moments.
Miller may not be the fastest guy on the field, but he knows how to get open and make plays.
The Niners linebackers need to make sure he is contained so he doesn't become a factor in the game. Will it be Miller Time or will the 49ers make him a non factor?
Darrius Heyward-Bey Vs Michael Crabtree
As I mentioned earlier this is a battle that will be played out for the rest of these young players careers. These two players are very different and even though they were drafted in the same round, they already have very different stories.
Darrius Heyward-Bey was taken with the seventh pick and it shocked the world. He was known for his not so great hands, but had blazing Raiders speed.
He was mocked and laughed at, but his cool demeanor and great attitude has stuck out during the whole process. His rookie year was a struggle and he must work to get better.
Michael Crabtree was supposed to be the first wide out picked in the draft, because he was the most talented. Concerns about his character surfaced and teams passed on him. He said the criticism was unfair and claimed he was not a diva.
The Niners ignored the things being said and were happy to draft him after he fell to them. He eventually held out and missed a lot of the season, but still managed to produce better numbers than Heyward-Bey.
This will be their first head to head meeting, and their stats will be compared. Look for Heyward-Bey to have a better day than Crabtree.
Tom Cable Vs Mike Singletary
Both of these coaches became coaches by default, but their attitude and their philosophy helped them keep their jobs.
Both guys have tough guy philosophy because they want to beat the other team up.
One coach is known for handing out beatings on the field as a player, the other one is known for beating up coaches in meetings.
Needless to say I would not want to be punched in the jaw by any of these coaches. I think both of these guys will be a major part of bringing back the Bay Area football we all loved to see.
If both the Niners and the Raiders are going to make some noise this season, it will be because of these two men.
Which brings me to perhaps the most important question in the Bay Area today. Who would win in the Octagon and how? Coach Mike Singletary or Coach Tom Cable? Let me know what you think and let's try and get Dana White to set this up.
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