Another week without Oakland’s 1-2 punch in the backfield as star running back Darren McFadden and productive backup Mike Goodson are ruled out this week against the New Orleans Saints.
McFadden and Goodson are recovering from high-ankle sprains they suffered against Tampa Bay and will be sidelined for their second straight week.
McFadden seems to be progressing and is further along than Goodson as he is out of his walking boot and reports say he was working with a trainer on the sidelines Friday for the second day in a row. Goodson not so much, as he is still in a walking boot.
This means Marcel Reece will get the start at running back. Talk about versatility, as Marcel Reece is listed as a full back yet can carry the ball and line up as wide receiver as he has shown throughout his career with the Raiders. He is a dynamic, explosive player and needs to be utilized a lot more if the Raiders want to be successful.
The Raiders need to continue to pound the football and not abandon the run game. New Orleans ranks 31st at stopping the run and they give up about five yards per carry. Marcel Reece is a big bodied power back with some good speed and agility, and should be able to bully his way through this Saints defense and have himself a solid day on the ground.
New Orleans had a rocky start to their season to say the least, as they lost their first four games in a row. However veteran All-Star Drew Brees turned the tables around and the Saints have won four of their last five match ups, including a monster victory over the undefeated Atlanta Falcons.
The Oakland Raiders have to take advantage of this Saints defense if they have any chance of winning this football game. There is constant confusion and blow coverages in their secondary as they rank 31st in pass defense, and as I mentioned their run defense has yet to get it together.
Two veteran quarterbacks will face off on Sunday – Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and Carson Palmer of the Oakland Raiders. Both QBs throw the ball extraordinarily well – Drew Brees leads the NFC in passing yards, and Carson Palmer leads the AFC in passing yards. Expect a great QB match up and a very exciting game as both teams desperately need a win.