The New Orleans Saints and quarterback Drew Brees recently came to terms on a contract extension. Brees wanted the contract done before the start of the regular season and he got his wish, so he'll be going into Sunday's opener against the Oakland Raiders with no distractions to draw his attention.
New Orleans is in a tough position playing in the the NFC South, a division that was one of the weakest in 2014 but the Carolina Panthers dominated a season ago. Brees is about as good as they get at the quarterback position, but he'll have his hands full keeping pace with the Panthers this season, not to mention the improving Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Oakland is in a similar situation with the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos in the AFC West. But unlike the Panthers, the Broncos sustained heavy losses in free agency and lost Peyton Manning to retirement. So while winning the AFC West with Denver, the Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers will be difficult, they might be in a better situation than the Saints.
The Raiders are hoping to take the next step with young players like Derek Carr, Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack leading the way. They have a lot of young talent, while Brees, at 37, remains the core of the Saints.
Experts over at CBS Sports think the Raiders will win for the most part, with seven of the eight going with Oakland. Of the nine ESPN analysts who have submitted their picks, six of them are siding with the Raiders as well. Three of the five writers over at FOX Sports think the Raiders will come out on top.
Here at SB Nation, the majority is also going with Oakland:
|Game||RVB||Stephen White||Thomas George||Jeanna Thomas||Adam Stites||Tyler Tynes||Louis Bien||Joel Thorman||Fooch||OddsShark computer|
|OAK vs NO||OAK||OAK||OAK||OAK||OAK||OAK||OAK||NO||NO||NO|
Seven of the nine experts are picking the silver and black, with only Joel Thorman, Fooch and the OddsShark Computer going with New Orleans. Sunday's opener between the two is set for 1 p.m. ET.