The Oakland Raiders take on a newly revived New Orleans Saints team in the Black Hole Sunday afternoon.
For Raider Nation, this game could be a toss up of either a surprising Raiders victory (like week 3 vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers), or an unwanted shootout that finds the Silver and Black running out of bullets before the 4th quarter even begins (like last week vs. the Baltimore Ravens).
Here are three keys to success for Oakland, if they want to put themselves in a good position to get the “W” this weekend.
- The Raiders must score touchdowns, not field goals! Carson Palmer has had big numbers statistically (yardage wise) throughout the season, but the one area he needs to improve on is finishing off drives with 7, not 3 points, especially against a high powered offense like the Saints. New Orleans doesn’t have a great defense, so Palmer should have a field day against them. With possibly no RUN DMC (Darren McFadden) for a second straight week, it will be up to Palmer to match Saints’ QB Drew Brees as this game wears on.
- Defensively, Oakland has to get off of the field on third down. In most of their six losses, this has plagued the Raiders when it comes to giving themselves a legitimate chance to win ball games. They must find a way to put Brees on his #$%, and disrupt the flow of the Saints offense if they seriously want to make this a competitive ball game.
New Orleans doesn’t have a great running game, but that doesn’t mean that the defense should fall asleep when it comes to containing their ground game. Intensity, determination and focus should bring about solid results for this Oakland D if they’re up for the challenge.
- Lastly, the Raiders must win the turnovers and penalties battle. When this Raiders’ defense can cause turnovers, they actually become more ferocious and fearsome. Turnovers also help the offense, putting them in easier situations to score.
Penalties have hurt the Raiders over the last four ball games, and must be limited when you play an offensive juggernaut like the Saints. Simply put, don’t take away points or positive plays from your team, and don’t give New Orleans a second chance to do anything offensively, because eventually you will pay for it.
Head coach Dennis Allen must find a way to motivate this struggling Raiders team, and there’s no better time to get it done than this Sunday afternoon. Will Raider Nation be in good spirits come Sunday evening? That’s the million dollar question we have to wait until tonight to find out.
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Written by Arthur Kai