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Raiders, Saints set to air it out

The SportsXchange

The Raiders' game against the New Orleans Saints shapes up as an arms race between quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Drew Brees.

Palmer plans on being careful in terms of not getting caught up in it -- particularly in the first half.

"When the opposing offense is scoring fast, often it puts a lot of stress on you," Palmer said. "You can't get in situations, especially early in the game, where you try to fit balls in certain spots. You can be down by seven and before you know it you try things that get you down by 14 or 21.

"When you get in the third or fourth quarters things can change, but in the first half you have to be efficient and know when to say when."

All well and good, but considering Oakland's defensive performance of late, Palmer could find himself in precisely that situation.

The Raiders have given up 97 points in their last two games, the most since they lost back-to-back 55-0 and 44-0 games in the first two games of the 1961 season.

Brees has a history of torching the Raiders. He was 26-for-30 for 320 yards and three touchdowns in their last meeting in 2008, had two blistering preseason halves against Oakland, and including his time with the Chargers, is 6-0 while completing 70.4 percent of his passes for 1,248 yards with 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Brees said he sees a kindred spirit in Palmer.

"He's just like me in that, every time you touch the ball, you feel like you're going to score," Brees said. "That's just the mentality, regardless of what the defense is doing. You're focused on scoring execution and trying to score every time you touch the ball. That's the aggressive mentality we play with."

The Raiders' breakdowns on the back end in a 55-20 loss to Baltimore haven't vanished from memory, and cornerback Michael Huff understands things will have to be tightened up considerably.

"It can't happen this week," Huff said. "He's one of the smartest, one of the greatest quarterbacks out there. Pre-snap, he kind of knows already what you're in, so we've got to hopefully disguise a little bit and make him think a little bit and let our pressure get to him."
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