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NFL Preseason, 49ers At Raiders: San Francisco Slowly Recovers From Injuries

Alex Smith had quite the game against the Vikings. In the opening drive he was clutch, he was in command - and he made the throws he needed to make. On Saturday against the Raiders, he'll likely get even more playing time and will look to show what he did on that first drive, but over the course of the first half.

He'll have his hands full against Oakland's defensive line, who are looking to make their name off of the 49ers offensive line. 49ers rookie Mike Iupati has thus far been stellar with the occasional mistake, while the other first round rookie for the Niners, Anthony Davis has been holding down the fort well enough to keep his starting job at right tackle.

Wide receiver Michael Crabtree is back to full practices with the team, and the big question right now will be how long he'll be playing, if at all, on Saturday. He'll probably play only a series or two, giving backups Dominique Zeigler and Jason Hill more time with which to battle for that roster spot. Tight end Vernon Davis is also coming off an injury, and is only just getting back into team practices, and the word is that he probably won't be playing. Rookie sixth round pick Nate Byham will get a lot more time if he's not hurt, after seeing a lot of playing time against the Vikings last Sunday.

On the defensive side of the ball, the 49ers starting defense will look to spoil the return for Raiders running back Darren McFadden, who is coming off an injury and is expected to play. Ricky Jean Francois will try and make one last impression against starters at the nose tackle position before Aubrayo Franklin makes his return, and against the Raiders' untested and unproven offensive line, he has to feel good about his chances to do so.

It's looking like it will be a battle of defenses as the two teams look to be fielding improved units in comparison to last year. The 49ers defense will likely have to contend with the screen passes, while the Raiders defense will see if they can stop the Niners and their newfound offense weapons.