The New Orleans Saints hope to become the second team to start 0-4 and still make the playoffs as they battle the Oakland Raiders Sunday afternoon at O.co Coliseum.
Only the 1992 San Diego Chargers made the playoffs after going 0-4, but the Saints look primed for a postseason run, winning four of their five games, including snapping Atlanta 31-21 to end their unbeaten streak.
Tight end Jimmy Graham caught seven balls for 146 yards and two touchdowns, with quarterback Drew Brees going 21-for-31 for 298 yards and three touchdowns.
The Saints defense turned in perhaps their best game of the season, stuffing the Falcons at the line, and only giving up 46 rushing yards. The secondary gave up 408 yards and three scores to Matt Ryan.
While initially reported as active, New Orleans will have to wait another week for running back Darren Sproles, who is not expected to play Sunday. Sproles returned to practice this week after breaking his left hand, though he would only return punts and kick-offs if he did play against Oakland.
The Oakland Raiders are on a two game slide after a 55-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens last week. Oakland kept the game close until the third quarter, when Baltimore receiver Torrey Smith caught two touchdowns from Joe Flacco.
Oakland also struggled with three turnovers, including one interception by quarterback Carson Palmer, who went 29-for-45 for 368 yards with two touchdowns. Palmer has thrown at least one interception in five straight games.
While neither team rushed for major yards, Oakland clearly missed running back Darren McFadden. The Raiders relied on Marcel Reece, who had 13 carries for 48 yards.
Reece will reportedly start again versus New Orleans, with McFadden and primary backup Mike Goodson out.
Oakland will also miss defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who missed practice Friday with a hamstring injury.
The game begins at 4:05 p.m. EDT and will be shown by FOX, or watch a live stream online by purchasing NFL Sunday Ticket Max.
Betting Odds: New Orleans is favored by 6 points
Over/Under: 55 points
Prediction: The New Orleans defense may have turned a corner, and with Palmer turnover prone the Saints should win their fourth straight.
Predicted Score: New Orleans 35 , Oakland 31
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