When the Oakland Raiders host the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, the offense knows it will need to keep pace in a high scoring game. Both teams have prolific passing offenses and defenses near the bottom of the league stopping the pass. The ingredients suggest Sunday's game will be a shootout.
The Raiders come into Sunday ranked 5th in passing offense, averaging 288.9 yards per game. The Saints defense is allowing 307.3 passing yards per game, which is 31st in the NFL. On the flip side, New Orleans is ranked 2nd in passing offense with an average of 303.9 yards per game. The Oakland defense allows 255.9 yards per game, which is ranked 24th in the league. That means there will be a significant amount of pressure on the Raiders passing game to score points to keep up with the Saints.
“Yeah, when the opposing offense is scoring fast and often, it definitely puts a lot of stress on you,” Carson Palmer said. “You can’t get in situations, especially early in the game, especially in the first half, where you just try to fit balls in certain spots because you could be down by seven and right before you know it, if you try to do things like that, you could be down by 14 or 21.”
Because Oakland could be without running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson, the offense will rely on the passing attack once again. Fullback Marcel Reece filled in admirably last week and can be an effective weapon, especially in the passing game because of his size, versatility, and speed.
“He’s just mister reliable,” Palmer said of Reece. “He’s played fullback, he’s played tailback, receiver. He’s kind of jack of all trades. He can do everything very, very well.”
Palmer will be looking to utilize his receiving threats against a suspect Saints secondary. Wide receivers Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore have played well this season and should see opportunities Sunday to make plays. Tight End Brandon Myers has also been a reliable target for Palmer, especially in the fourth quarter and when the team needs a first down. In order for the Raiders to have the fire power to contend with the Saints, the entire offense has to execute at a high level.
“They’re a perennial number one, number two, number three in offense every year and they score a lot of points,” Palmer said. “I don’t let myself go into a game thinking, you have to score on this drive. You have to score on this drive. You can get yourself in trouble and get your team in trouble doing that, but I understand what we’re up against. I understand that we have to keep up with these guys.”
Both teams have top passing attacks and are desperate for wins. The Raiders come into the game at 3-6 and the Saints are 4-5. Neither team can afford a loss and both should feel like they can take advantage of the opposing defense. Oakland will need to clean up their mental errors on offense, avoid turnovers, and protect Palmer. If he has time, he can victimize the Saints defense.
“They need a win with how their season started off,” Palmer said. “We need a win desperately. They can score a lot of points and we know we have to score a lot of points to keep up with them. It’s going to be an exciting game. I can’t wait to get to Sunday.”
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