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Deke Bellavia

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Big Chief's Saints-Raiders preview: Things to watch in Oakland

What they are saying: 
Saints Coach Joe Vitt on if LB Jonathan Vilma will play more -  “He is going to see more snaps. With Jonathan Vilma, the biggest thing (challenge) I had as his position coach was protecting Jonathan Vilma against himself. He is a warrior. He wants to play every snap, he wants be in on every play and I saw it first-hand a year ago, what it did to him when he tried to play with that knee. He wound up having to get a surgery during the season and a major surgery during the offseason. He missed all of training camp so when he came back to play we were going to put him on a training camp rep count where he was going to get a certain amount every game. His reps  are going to be up. We need him. He’s getting better every day; his pad level, changing direction, it’s fun to see (it all continue to improve).”
 Saints QB Drew Brees on playing in Oakland against the Raiders: 
 “We played there in the preseason a couple of times, but obviously that’s not the same as the regular season.  The Black Hole, that place can get crazy and it can get loud, especially in and around the end zones.  I remember winning a big game in overtime there in 2002, the year they went to the Super Bowl, and having batteries, water bottles and everything else thrown at us.  It’s a fun place to play.  It’s a raucous crowd.  Obviously, they provide a very good home field advantage.”
 Things to look for:
Good passing attacks!  Yes, we know that the Saints always bring a potent passing game to the table each and every week, but to some it is a surprise how well the Raiders are moving the ball through the air.  The Saints are 2nd in the NFL in passing yards, while Oakland is not far behind, ranked 5th.  Drew Brees and Carson Palmer are both playing at a high level right now, and I can envision a high scoring game here.
Turnovers are going to be huge!  The Raiders are -3 on the season in turnovers, while the Saints are even, which ranks them 14th in the NFL.  Oakland has cashed in on turnovers as of late, scoring points on turnovers in five straight games. 
Will the Saints continue to run the ball well?  Since the Denver game the Saints have made a stronger commitment to the run.  New Orleans gashed opponents in the previous two weeks and when the Saints rush the ball for 120 yards or more they are nearly unbeatable.  Oakland is hurting when it comes to rushing the football as they gained just 72 yards against the Ravens and they will more than likely be without their best RB Darren McFadden.
Just win baby!  I mean the Saints of course.  The Saints have won 13 straight games in the month of November.  And if the Saints continue their undefeated streak in November they will most certainly be right in the playoff hunt as December nears.  With upcoming games against San Francisco and Atlanta the Saints could be 7-5 going into the final month of the season, but all of that is just hearsay without a win over Oakland.
The Big Chief’s Final Analysis
New Orleans is the much better team, and they are playing the best clearly between these two right now.  So what does that mean?  Absolutely nothing!  Oakland has been embarrassed by allowing 97 points combined in their last two games.  Al Davis must be rolling over in his grave, and you would think that if the Raiders are going to play better it would be this week.
With a 50% chance of rain this game could come down to which team runs the best, and that is the Saints.  The line is New Orleans minus -4 ½ but I’m not comfortable about telling you to lay the money on the Saints.  Obviously, if you bet this one, the wise bet is to go Black and Gold.  I think the Saints will win, but this one could be a closer one that many are expecting. 
New Orleans Saints (4-5) @ Oakland Raiders (3-6)
Sunday November 18th 2012 3:05 Kickoff
Last week’s results:  New Orleans beat Atlanta 31-27 and Baltimore beat Oakland 55-20
Series History:  The series is tied 5-5-1 overall in 11 meetings between the Saints and Raiders.

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Topics : Religion_BeliefSports
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Locations : AtlantaBaltimoreDenverNew OrleansOaklandSan Francisco
People : Al DavisCarson PalmerDarren McFaddenDrew BreesJoe VittJonathan Vilma

11/18/2012 10:09AM
Big Chief's Saints-Raiders preview: Things to watch in Oakland
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11/18/2012 1:11PM
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