The Oakland Raiders head into the 2016-17 with playoffs on the mind. The Raiders haven’t made it past week 16 since 2002, the year they went to the Super Bowl. But this season brings more than hope, it brings reassurance. The Raiders have played it smart the last three years, draft wise and free agency as they stopped chasing the big names and decided to create their own.
The New Orleans Saints, despite having one of the best QBs in the NFL have failed miserably as far as postseason play goes. Brees has put up the outstanding numbers but the overall record has been that of the Raiders lately. With Bress looking for a contract extension before the season starts there’s telling where his head will be if he doesn’t get one by Sunday.
The franchises are headed in opposite directions. The Raiders have future All-Pros in Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, Latavius Murray and Khalil Mack. The Raiders will throw a heavy dose of Murray at the 31st ranked run defense and Carr, Cooper and Michael Crabtree should see plenty of open field against the worst ranked pass defense of the Saints.
The Saints will try to pound the ball up the middle with Mark Ingram, in hopes that will force the Raiders to bring a safety to the line of scrimmage, giving Brees time to connect with the speedsters Willie Snead and Brandin Cooks. If Bress is giving time he can make the best secondary look bad but he will have a hard time with Mack constantly giving chase.
The Raiders have suffered, now it’s their time to shine, the Saints, however, are stuck in the middle and unless Brees can figure out a way to play defense the Saints may endure another 7-9 season or worse.
Prediction for Oakland Raiders vs. New Orleans: Raiders 28 Saints 10