THIS WEEK'S NOTABLE STORYLINES:
- The Raiders will host the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, marking Oakland's second straight home game against an NFC South opponent.
- Sunday's game will feature two quarterbacks among the NFL leaders in passing yards. New Orleans QB Drew Brees ranks first in the NFL with 2,847, while Oakland QB Carson Palmer ranks third in the league and first in the AFC with 2,723.
- Both the Raiders and Saints rank among the top five in the NFL in net passing yards. New Orleans is second in the league with 303.9 yards per contest, while the Raiders are fifth in the NFL with 288.9 yards per game.
- The Raiders have scored in the final two minutes of the first half in each of the team's nine games.
- The Silver and Black has recorded points off of takeaways in five straight games, dating back to the team's Week 6 contest at Atlanta on Oct. 14.
- Head Coach Dennis Allen will face the team with which he helped win Super Bowl XLIV.
- The Raiders will recognize all five branches of the military during Sunday's Salute to Service game. Along with title sponsor USAA, the Raiders will host and honor 60 graduates from Airmen Leadership Academy at Travis Air Force Base. Airmen Leadership Academy and members of the 22nd Airlift Squadron will also participate in a flag unfurling, while all service branches will be participating in the Color Guard presentation.
RAIDERS RETURN HOME TO TAKE ON NEW ORLEANS:The Raiders host the New Orleans Saints at O.co Coliseum Sunday, marking the team's second straight home game against an NFC South opponent. The Raiders look to rebound from a 55-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on the road last week, while the 4-5 Saints are coming off a 31-27 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
THE SERIES:The Raiders and Saints have played 11 times since the teams first met in 1971, and the all-time series is tied, 5-5-1. The first contest between Oakland and New Orleans ended in a 21-21 tie on Nov. 7, 1971. The two teams last met at the Louisiana Superdome on Oct. 12, 2008, a 34-3 New Orleans victory, and last played in Oakland on Oct. 24, 2004, a 31-26 Saints win.
PALMER NEARING YARDAGE MARKS:QB Carson Palmer has racked up passing yardage at a record rate through nine games.
- Palmer needs 277 yards to reach 3,000 for the sixth time in his career. However, if it reaches that landmark against New Orleans in his 10th game, he will have done it faster than any previous season. He needed 11 games to reach 3,000 in 2007, and 12 contests to get there in 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010. The last Raiders QB to throw for 3,000 yards was Kerry Collins in 2005 (3,759).
- Palmer has thrown for 782 yards in the past two contests, his highest career mark over a two-game stretch. He needs 209 yards to establish his best career total over three games, breaking his 1,021-yard mark over the last three games of the 2011 season, Dec. 18-Jan. 1.
- Palmer has an opportunity to string together three 300-yard passing games for the first time in his career.
- Palmer has posted four 300-yard passing games this season, tied for fourth most in the NFL. Only Denver's Peyton Manning (6), New Enland's Tom Brady (5) and New Orleans' Drew Brees (5) have more.
MYERS CLUTCH IN THE FOURTH:TE Brandon Myers totaled three receptions in the fourth quarter at Baltimore, maintaining his spot at second place in the league with 23 catches in the final period this season.
LECHLER RIDING CAREER-BEST STRETCH:P Shane Lechler has averaged 54.7 yards (45.6 net) on nine punts over his past two games, pinning two inside the 20 with no touchbacks. For just the second time in his distinguished career, Lechler has averaged at least 54.5 gross yards in consecutive games, and the first instance (Dec. 24, 2011, to Jan. 1, 2012) included a game in which he punted just once. He has never averaged 54.5 yards or better in three straight games.
AMONG THE NET PASSING YARDS LEADERS:The Raiders rank fifth in the NFL in net passing yards/game with 288.9 per contest. The Saints, the Raiders' Week 11 opponent, rank second in the NFL with 303.9.
PALMER vs. BREES=YARDS:Sunday's game will feature two of the top passers in the NFL, as New Orleans' Drew Brees leads the league with 2,847 passing yards and Oakland's Carson Palmer is third in the NFL and first in the AFC with 2,723 yards.
KICKOFF CONTAIN:Prior to last week's 105-yard kickoff return by Jacoby Jones at Baltimore, the Raiders had not allowed a return of more than 34 yards this season. Oakland entered last week's game allowing opponents an average start of their 20.1-yard line, which ranked fourth in the NFL.
FIRST-HALF FLURRIES:QB Carson Palmer connected with WR Darrius Heyward-Bey for a 55-yard touchdown with 1:37 left in the first half at Baltimore on Sunday, marking the ninth straight game in which the Raiders have scored in the final two minutes of the first half. The Silver and Black has recorded four field goals and five touchdowns, scoring an NFL-high 47 points inside of the first-half two-minute warning.
TRYING TO GET HEALTHY:The Raiders have been staggered by injuries through the first half of the season.
- If Khalif Barnes is able to return to the starting lineup, in the season's 10th game, the Raiders are expected to have their projected starting five offensive linemen on the field for the first time this year. Injuries have hit three of the five positions.
- Still, if a high-ankle sprain keeps Darren McFadden from starting, the Raiders will play a 10th 2012 game without at least one of the 11 offensive players listed first on their depth chart entering the season. Injuries have cost the team significant playing time at six of the 11 positions.
- On defense, the Raiders have played just one game, the season-opener vs. San Diego, with all 11 first-team players.
TURNING TAKEAWAYS INTO POINTS:After turning a fumble recovery into eight fourth-quarter points vs. Tampa Bay on Nov. 4, the Raiders defense once again capitalized on a turnover at Baltimore last week. DB Michael Huff intercepted a second-quarter pass from Joe Flacco, leading to a 32-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski.
INDIVIDUAL HIGHLIGHTS vs. NEW ORLEANS:CB Ron Bartell posted his first career tackle vs. New Orleans as a member of the St. Louis Rams on Oct. 23, 2005...S Tyvon Branch posted two solo tackles at New Orleans on Oct. 12, 2008...S Matt Giordano had his first career interception as a member of the Indianapolis Colts vs. New Orleans on Sept. 7, 2007, returning the pick 83 yards for touchdown...RB Mike Goodson registered his first career reception at New Orleans on Nov. 8, 2009, as a member of the Carolina Panthers...Goodson rushed 13 times for 44 yards vs. New Orleans on Jan. 3, 2010...S Michael Huff recorded three tackles at New Orleans on Oct. 12, 2008...DT Tommy Kelly made his NFL debut against the Saints on Sept. 7, 2004...Kelly recorded his first career sack in that contest...QB Carson Palmer completed 14-of-22 pass attempts for 275 yards and three touchdowns vs. New Orleans on Nov. 19, 2006, as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals...Palmer also passed for 249 yards with one touchdown on 23 completions against the Saints on Dec. 5, 2010...LB Philip Wheeler started for the Indianapolis Colts against the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 7, 2010...Wheeler racked up 10 tackles (six solo) at New Orleans on Oct. 23, 2011.
NOTABLE CONNECTIONS:Head Coach Dennis Allen coached in New Orleans for five seasons from 2006-10...Allen was the assistant defensive line coach from 2006-07 and the secondary coach from 2008-10, helping the Saints to win Super Bowl XLIV...S Matt Giordano played for New Orleans in 2010...Special teams coordinator Steve Hoffman was in training camp as a punter with the Saints in 1985...Saints offensive line/running game coach Aaron Kromer was an assistant coach for the Raiders from 2001-04, serving as assistant offensive line coach (2001) and offensive line coach (2002-04)...Running backs coach Kelly Skipper coached Saints RB Chris Ivory at Washington State before Ivory transferred to Tiffin...Tight ends coach Mark Hutson coached for five seasons at Tulane, serving as interim head coach in 2011...Strength and conditioning coach Al Miller was inducted into the Northeast Louisiana University Hall of Fame in 1992...Assistant strength and conditioning coach John Grieco was head strength and conditioning coach at Louisiana-Monroe from 2010-11...LB Keenan Clayton played at Oklahoma with Saints K Garrett Hartley and LB Curtis Lofton...CB Phillip Adams was teammates with Saints S Rafael Bush at South Carolina State...LB Rolando McClain played with Saints RB Mark Ingram at Alabama...TE David Ausberry and C/G Alex Parsons played at USC with Saints T Charles Brown...QB Matt Leinart also attended USC, where he was teammates with Saints DT Sedrick Ellis...S Michael Huff played at Texas with Saints TE David Thomas...TE Richard Gordon was teammates with Saints TE Jimmy Graham at Miami...Saints C Brian de la Puente and DE Cameron Jordan played at Cal...WR Greg Camarillo played at Stanford and is from Atherton, having attended Menlo-Atherton High School...Saints DT Akiem Hicks is from Fair Oaks, Calif., and attended Del Campo High School and Sacramento City College...Saints T Bryce Harris played at Fresno State, and is from Tulare, Calif., where he attended Tulare Union High School.