Game Preview: Injury-Plagued Oakland Raiders Host Surging New Orleans Saints


Aug 28, 2011; Oakland CA, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (85) leaves the field before the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

It’s been a tough season for the Oakland Raiders, and it won’t get any easier for them today.

They will be hosting the surging New Orleans Saints, who are winners of four of their last five games. Last week, they defeated the previously undefeated Atlanta Falcons in front of a ecstatic home crowd. This week, they’ll look to get it done on the road and improve to 5-5 on the season.

For the Raiders, they were destroyed by the Baltimore Ravens on the road last week, with a final score of 55-20. They could not get anything going and Joe Flacco and his offense picked apart the Raiders’ defense in every way possible.

The Raiders were without running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson last week, and they will be without them again today. They both suffered high ankle sprains in their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Richard Seymour, who has been dealing with a hamstring injury, didn’t play last week and he won’t play today either. His injury is a huge loss for the Raiders’ defensive line, as they will need to apply as much pressure as they can to try and shake up Drew Brees.

But the Raiders’ injuries don’t stop there. Strong safety Tyvon Branch is inactive with a neck injury, and today will snap his streak of starts at 57. Mike Mitchell will start in his place.

There is good news though, as wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey will be active after missing practice the past two days. He tweaked his hamstring on Wednesday.

Right tackle Khalif Barnes will also play today and start for the first time since Week 2, when he suffered a groin injury which led to surgery. Quarterback Carson Palmer has taken his share of hits this year, so having his starting right tackle back should be very helpful to him and the team. If Palmer can get enough time, he should be able to unleash deep bombs to his speedy receivers.

I don’t think the Raiders have much of a chance today. Without McFadden, their offense looks dry and it forces Palmer to carry the load, which hasn’t always worked out. And without Goodson, they lose that boost of energy and big play that he so often delivers. I think Drew Brees will destroy and expose the Raiders’ defense, just like Flacco did last week. And I certainly don’t believe that the Raiders can keep up with Brees and his offense, because they put a lot of points up on the board, something Oakland struggles to do.

To catch all the action, tune in to FOX at 1:05 PM PT and see these two teams go at it. Or, you can check out our live blog of the game, which will start about 15 minutes prior to kickoff and will continue throughout the entire game