Oakland Raiders vs. New Orleans Saints: 10 Keys to the Game for Raiders
The Raiders have given up nearly 100 points in their last two games and the offense continues to be completely one-dimensional.
Meanwhile, the Saints have become relevant in the NFC once again and look to continue that success against a desperate Oakland Raiders team searching for answers.
Here are 10 keys to the Raiders' success on Sunday.
Throw, Throw, Throw the Ball
If there is one defense that is worse than the Raiders', it's the Saints'. New Orleans comes into this game 31st in the NFL against the rush and the pass.
Oakland continues to be without its top two running backs, so Carson Palmer should throw at least 50 times against the Saints.
Palmer has put up nearly 800 yards and thrown for six touchdowns in his last two games, and New Orleans has given up over 330 yards per game over the last month.
Oakland's offense has revolved around the passing game all season long and the Raiders should easily exploit the Saints' abysmal secondary.
Contain Jimmy Graham
Jimmy Graham is one of the most productive tight ends in the NFL. He finished with 146 yards and two touchdowns against the Atlanta Falcons and is always a dangerous threat.
Though Brees is known for his deep ball, he continuously looks for Graham on a frequent basis. Brees has looked for his tight end 29 times in the last three games and if the Raiders are to have any chance of winning they must make him a non-factor.
Be Aware of the Run
When you think of the New Orleans Saints, passing triumphs everything. (Unless you think about horrible defense, in which case you would also be right.)
But the Saints have a very underrated running back in Chris Ivory.
For as bad as the Raiders' pass defense has been, their run defense has been just as horrible. Oakland let Doug Martin rush for 251 yards and four touchdowns in Week 9 and must not forget that New Orleans can run the football as well.
Control the Clock
If the Raiders can keep the Saints' offense off the field, they have a good shot at winning the game. Oakland has the talent to put up 40 points on the New Orleans Saints, and this game will definitely be a shootout.
Oakland has had the time of possession in its last two games, and will have to milk the clock against the Saints because Drew Brees will throw quick scores.
The Saints' offense is tremendous, while the Raiders' defense is horrible. Oakland is going to have to match them score for score in order to win.
Get Marcel Reece Involved
Reece accumulated 104 total yards of offense against Baltimore and gave the Raiders that jolt they needed in the running game.
As a dual threat, Reece will draw coverage from the Saints' defense and let one of Oakland's speedy wide receivers get open deep down the field.
The Saints are also 31st against the run, which means Reece has the potential to run for 100 yards as well.
Generate a Pass Rush
One of the reasons the Raiders are giving up so many passing yards is because of their inability to rattle opposing quarterbacks.
Oakland has only recorded 11 sacks in nine games this season. Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour, Oakland's two best pass-rushers have been virtually non-existent and continue to let quarterbacks throttle them week after week.
If the Raiders give Drew Brees any time to get comfortable, he'll torch them just like he's torched every other defense this season.
Keep the Penalties to a Minimum
The Raiders have committed 19 penalties in their last two games and have reverted back to the old ways that made their franchise so infamous.
Oakland was flagged four times for personal fouls last week against Baltimore and will surely lose on Sunday if the Saints are able to get free yardage.
Stupid penalties are extremely costly; especially against an offense like the Saints.
Stop Turning the Ball over
The Raiders have played more like the Chiefs lately by turning the ball over six times in their last two games.
Even though Carson Palmer has played well this season, he has made some questionable throws which have led to interceptions.
Oakland can not afford to let Drew Brees get any extra opportunities because he will take advantage of every single one of them.
Start out with a Bang
While the Raiders come into this game in a slump, the Saints continue to improve week after week.
New Orleans is riding high with momentum after handing the Atlanta Falcons their first loss of the season last week.
In order to generate early momentum, Carson Palmer must use his arm to hit his receivers deep to set up great field position. As conservative as offensive coordinator Greg Knapp has been this season, it's unlikely the Raiders will try anything fancy.
But Palmer has already shown he can connect with Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey for huge chunks of yardage. Gaining early momentum will keep the crowd in the game as well.
Play Some Defense
Oakland's defense has been nothing short of disappointing through the season's first 10 weeks. The Raiders can't stop the rush and they definitely can't stop the pass.
With Drew Brees coming into O.co Coliseum, the Raiders must slow down the Saints' high-flying passing attack if they want any chance of winning the game.
Brees has already thrown for over 2,800 yards and 25 touchdowns this season. Though he hasn't thrown for over 300 yards in his last three games, Brees is still extremely efficient passing the ball, completing 61.5 percent of his passes.
A successful as other opposing quarterbacks have been against them, the Raiders will have an extremely difficult time slowing down one of the best quarterbacks in the league.