It goes without saying that the Oakland Raiders are underdogs against the New Orleans Saints this Sunday. The odds makers like the Saints to win by four or more. With the way things have been going that might seem like easy money. Mix in all of the walking wounded who likely won’t suit up for the Silver and Black and you’ve got the potential for another ugly showing.
Of course many assumed the same was going to occur back when the Raiders made a stop in Atlanta where the undefeated Falcons got more than they bargained for.
Whatever Dennis Allen said to his team in ATL he needs to do the same against the Saints. Oakland won’t have many advantages on paper so winning will come as a result of old fashioned effort and pride.
Drew Brees and his scandal filled franchise have had an up and down ride this season. Lately the sailing has been much smoother as the Saints are finally hitting their stride.
The exact opposite can be said of the Raiders who are playing their worst ball of the season.
Darren McFadden is on track to miss yet another Sunday meaning the ground game will again be focused on Marcel Reece. In order to beat the Saints Reece is going to need a big game. Oakland’s only hope of victory is to keep the Saints’ offense off the field.
Given the way Jason Tarver’s defense has floundered there is no reason to assume they’ll be able to shutdown Brees and company. That means the best defense for Oakland will be a ball control offense.
Carson Palmer might be content to put the ball in the air 50+ times but generally when that happens it means bad things for the Raiders. To grind out a win Sunday it will be in Greg Knapp’s best interest to call as few passing plays as possible. Trying to out duel New Orleans will guarantee a loss.
But no matter the specific s of the game plan unless this team plays with heart then no scheme will help Coach Allen to victory. What is most disturbing about some of the Raiders’ losses this season is the lack of effort. Losing is one thing. Losing without putting your best foot forward is quite another.
So long as the Raiders give it all they’ve got Raider Nation will be proud. We can’t ask for much more these days. However another uninspired sleepwalk through a Sunday will surely ignite plenty of negative talk amongst football’s most loyal fans.