Saints vs. Raiders 2012 game preview: New Orleans running hot after besting Atlanta

Wesley Hitt

The New Orleans Saints have started to turn their season around, and are looking for their third consecutive victory on Sunday when they take on the Oakland Raiders.

The Oakland Raiders and New Orleans Saints are going in opposite directions, with the former on a downward slope that was never truly on the up-and-up, and the latter climbing out of a deep hole they dug at the beginning of the season. New Orleans is looking for its third consecutive victory, while the Raiders are just trying to avoid allowing 40-plus points for the third consecutive game.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees is 6-0 against the Raiders, and has completed 112 of 159 passes (70.4 percent) for 1,248 yards, with 13 touchdowns, no interceptions and a 120.7 quarterback rating. That is absolute dominance against the Silver and Black, and this might be the weakest Raiders team he'll have faced, given the injuries that have occurred this season.

That being said, Carson Palmer is no stranger to the Saints, either. He's thrown for 524 yards, four touchdowns and an interception with a quarterback rating of 114.5 in two career games against them. Still, this one will likely come down to how Oakland's patchwork secondary performs. If they can't step up and slow the Saints down, it's unlikely Palmer could keep them in the game, even at his best.

Meet the Raiders

The Raiders suffered a 42-32 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 4, yielding a whopping 278 rushing yards, and then went on to match a franchise record for points allowed this past Sunday, losing to the Baltimore Ravens by a score of 55-20.

First-year head coach Dennis Allen simply doesn't have the Raiders ready to play on a regular basis. Changes to the offense this offseason, included the installation of a zone-blocking scheme, haven't paid off. Darren McFadden was unable to get much done through the beginning of the season, but started to improve once the team added in more power runs. Unfortunately, McFadden could miss Sunday's game with a sprained ankle.

Meet the Saints

The Saints were winless in September, and many had them among the bottom teams in the league. Drew Brees was essentially the only good thing, but in recent weeks, things have started to pick up. The running game has been productive, which isn't necessarily unheard of for the Saints, but it's certainly not something they have depended on with consistency.

New Orleans bested previously undefeated Atlanta 31-27 on Sunday. Brees threw for 298 yards and three touchdowns in the win, while the running game put up 148 yards. The week prior, they put up 140 yards. This rushing attack might just be what the Saints need to continue winning, without every single thing on Brees' shoulders.

For a negative, the Saints allowed more than 400 yards on Sunday, for the ninth time in the last nine games. If Oakland can stop the New Orleans offense here and there, they can likely put up the yardage on offense to be successful.

Local Takes: Raiders

Marcus Allen Krause of Silver and Black Pride previewed the game, and he talked about how important it is for the Raiders to get ahead early and play with a lead.

The cardiac kids that are the Raiders this year are not winning enough games to keep playing from behind confidently. Its time they get a lead right away to allow this team to play by their game plan instead of having to climb their way back into the competition. There is enough pressure with their record being 3-6, adding more onto that by having to play catch up is not the way to win games.

Local Takes: Saints

Over at Canal Street Chronicles, they took some mailbag questions and noted that Carson Palmer struggles under pressure, which the Saints have been pretty good with lately

Carson Palmer is a guy who is known for doing some really dumb things under pressure (I'm not saying he's not a good quarterback at times) and if we can produce the same pressure on him as we did against Atlanta and Philadelphia, it could be a long day.

Follow the Fun

Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Silver and Black Pride and Canal Street Chronicles, for more analysis and highlights from the game.

Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:

@CSCtweet

@silverandblackp

Prediction

Over at Silver and Black Pride, they made their pick and they're not optimistic about their team winning:

The thing about this game is that the Raiders will probably not be able to make many, if any, key stops on the Saints offense while the Raiders' general ineptitude and stubbornness will hinder them from keeping up with the onslaught. This will not be a blowout like last week but it will be more lopsided than the play on the field should dictate.

Saints win, 55-28.

Odds

According to OddsShark, the Saints opened as three-point favorites, and you can find them as high as five-point favorites on some sites. The over/under is set relatively high, at around 55 points, due to the lacking defense from both teams.

Next Week

The Raiders will hit the road to take on the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, prior to three-straight home games. New Orleans will return home, where they'll take on the San Francisco 49ers on the same day.

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