1. Carson Palmer seems to be having a great year throwing the ball. Do you anticipate him having a great game against the Saints secondary? Why or why not?
He will put up good numbers. Probably throw a 2-3 touchdown passes. It is partially because the Saints pass defense is so bad. But he has been doing that pretty consistently against most of the teams the Raiders have played this year. The problem is the Raiders have no run game so drives will stall and with him throwing as much as he has, he will throw at least one costly interception.
2. Raiders are giving up 31.6pts a game, while scoring 21.2pts a game. Saints are giving up 28.4pts a game, while scoring 27.7pts a game. These stats lean in the Saints favor, how do the Raiders tilt the scale back their way?
If the Raiders can somehow hold the Saints to 50% on third down, that would help a lot. It's hard to tell sometimes if the issue is the players not being where they're supposed to be or if it's the scheme that is putting them in the wrong place. But the lapses in coverage and soft spots in the zone have been their biggest problem. I suppose you can throw tackling in there too. This defense has confused me more of late than I think ever. And the players looked pretty confused too.
3. Branch is likely out this week. Who covers Jimmy Graham?
Linebacker Philip Wheeler will cover him in short yardage and hand him off to Mike Mitchell or Matt Giordano.
4. Who's RB is better? McFadden or Saints RB carousel?
Well, McFadden is out for this game as expected. McFadden is better when running behind a power blocking scheme as he was that last two years. But this year, he has been going nowhere. Regardless of who the Raiders put back there on Sunday, the Saints four headed monster will be better.
5. What is your score prediction and the standout player of the game?
This should be a high scoring affair with both teams taking it to the other team's weak defense. I have the Saints winning, final score 45-32. Drew Brees is the standout player, of course.