Published August 29, 2015
A look at what to expect in Sunday night's preseason games (all times EDT):
TEXANS AT SAINTS, 4 p.m.
Brian Hoyer gets his first chance to validate Houston coach Bill O'Brien's decision earlier this week to make him the Texans' starting quarterback over Ryan Mallett.
Mallett has acknowledged being a little angry about the decision, but has vowed to keep working hard.
With top Houston running back Arian Foster out (groin surgery), Jonathan Grimes, a former Williams & Mary music major who has been cut four times in his NFL career, looks to solidify his role as a change-of-pace rusher or receiver out of the backfield.
Texans defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, signed as a free agent away from New England, says his new team appears ''stacked'' on defense. But with pass-rushing outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney still recovering from knee surgery, Wilfork's assessment should get a good test against quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints' first-team offense. Last week against Wilfork's former unit, Brees led three scoring drives, throwing two TD passes.
Saints coaches also have challenged their revamped defense to ramp up pressure on the quarterback. New Orleans does not have a sack through two preseason games.
In the defensive backfield, New Orleans native Delvin Breaux is expected to make his home debut with the Saints. It should be a special moment for Breaux, who, despite being a prized LSU recruit, never played college football because of a serious neck injury during his senior season in high school. He's made his way to the NFL through Arena Football and the CFL.
CARDINALS AT RAIDERS, 8 p.m.
Arizona and Oakland both look to clean up things in the dress rehearsal game for the season opener.
Much of the focus for the Cardinals will be on the offensive line after allowing six sacks in the first half last week in a preseason loss to San Diego. Starter Carson Palmer was taken down twice in less than a quarter as he returns from ACL surgery and Arizona wants to do a better job keeping him upright this week against his former team.
The issues for the Raiders were more about penalties. After being flagged just twice in the preseason opener, Oakland had 13 penalties for 106 yards last week in a loss to Minnesota as the team was too often moving backward.
Coach Jack Del Rio said he'd like to keep quarterback Derek Carr and most of his starters in until early in the third quarter if possible to simulate what it will be like to come back onto the field after halftime.
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