NFL Preseason Preview – Oakland (1-2) at Seattle (3-0)

sp_raiders_seahaw5465x500The Seattle Seahawks will try to wrap up a perfect preseason slate at home on Thursday night, when Jim Mora and company host the Oakland Raiders in the final summer tune-up for both squads.

Though the news hasn’t all been good during a preseason in which key offensive linemen Walter Jones (knee) and Chris Spencer (quadriceps) have been sidelined with concerning injuries, the Seahawks have walked away relatively happy from wins against the Chargers (20-14), Broncos (27-13), and Chiefs (14-10).

Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has had a strong preseason, one year after being sidelined for nine games with back problems, completing 38-of-53 passes (71.7 percent) for 414 yards with four touchdowns, an interception, and a passer rating of 111.7 during the warm-up period.

Hasselbeck and the rest of the team’s first-string is unlikely to play major minutes on Thursday, in keeping with final-game-of-preseason tradition, meaning Seneca Wallace and rookie Mike Teel are likely to receive a bulk of the snaps.

One player who could appear in a Seattle uniform for the first time is running back Edgerrin James, who was signed last week and has a chance to see some action.

First-round draft choice and outside linebacker Aaron Curry is expected to play significant minutes, but cornerback Marcus Trufant (back) remains out for the Seahawks.

Among position battles, the competition between kicking candidates Olindo Mare and Brandon Coutu could be the most interesting. The incumbent Mare is 0-of-2 on field goals in the preseason, while the second-year-pro Coutu is 4-of-5.

For the Raiders, meanwhile, Thursday will be about wiping away the residue of a disturbing 45-7 loss to the New Orleans Saints last Saturday, a game Oakland trailed by a 31-0 count at halftime.

Drew Brees was a sensational 14-of-17 for 179 yards and two touchdowns in the win, while in the running game, the Saints piled up 232 yards in Oakland. On offense, the Raiders committed five turnovers while achieving just nine first downs on the night.

Given those circumstances, which head coach Tom Cable referred to as “embarrassing,” the Raiders starters could see a bit more time than the Seahawks’ first-string on Thursday.

Quarterback JaMarcus Russell, who has completed 25-of-38 passes (65.8 percent) passes for 279 yards, a touchdown, and no interceptions during the preseason to date, will seek to build on a promising exhibition period thus far.

Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (wrist) and safety Mike Mitchell (hamstring) are among the Raiders notables who will not play in the preseason finale.

The Seahawks lead the all-time preseason series with the Raiders, 5-2, including a 23-16 home victory prior to last season.