Where: O.co Coliseum, Oakland, Calif. (grass, outdoors)
When: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET (FOX)
Spread: Saints by 4.5
Forecast: Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain and temperatures in the 50s.
Records: Raiders (Overall: 3-6, AFC West: 1-2); Saints (Overall: 4-5, NFC South: 2-1)
Past results: Two most recent meetings -- Oct. 12, 2008: Saints 34, Raiders 3; Oct. 24, 2004: Saints 31, Raiders 26. Series record: Tied 5-5-1, but the Saints have won three of the past four.
What matters: The Raiders have lost back-to-back games and allowed a combined 97 points to the Bucs and Ravens while falling three games behind Denver in the AFC West. They need a win Sunday to keep their fading playoff hopes alive and their season from imploding. Things could get ugly for Raiders rookie coach Dennis Allen, his assistants and the entire team if the Raiders allow another 40 or 50 points and drop their third straight. The Raiders are facing a red-hot Saints team that has won four of its past five games after starting 0-4.
Who matters: The footballs should be flying Sunday at the Coliseum. Saints QB Drew Brees leads the NFL in passing yards with 2,847, and Raiders QB Carson Palmer ranks third with 2,723. They'll both take aim at two of the NFL's worst pass defenses. The Saints rank 31st against the pass, and the Raiders rank No. 24 and are coming off a debacle at Baltimore. Ravens QB Joe Flacco passed for 341 yards and three touchdowns with an interception. For the second straight week, the Raiders will be without starting RB Darren McFadden and backup RB Mike Goodson, who are out with high-ankle sprains. FB Marcel Reece will start at running back again, another reason why Palmer will likely spend most of the day passing.
Key matchups: Raiders RT Khalif Barnes vs. Saints LDE Cameron Jordan: Barnes will start for the first time since suffering a groin injury in Week 2 against Miami that required surgery. Barnes, who replaces Willie Smith, will be matched against a second-year pro from Cal, who leads the Saints in sacks with six. ... Raiders LC Michael Huff vs. Saints WR Marques Colston: Huff has struggled the past two weeks, and Colston leads the Saints with 47 catches for 652 yards and seven touchdowns. ... Raiders LB Philip Wheeler and SS Mike Mitchell vs. Saints TE Jimmy Graham: Wheeler and Mitchell, as well as a handful of other Raiders, will likely take turns trying to contain the 6-foot-7 Graham, one of the NFL's biggest matchup nightmares with his combination of size and speed.
Injuries of note: McFadden (ankle), Goodson (ankle) and DT Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring) are out. Starting SS Tyvon Branch (neck) and WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (hamstring) are questionable and will be game-time decisions.
Inside stuff: RB Taiwan Jones, listed as No. 3 on the depth chart, has not earned his coaches' trust enough to get more than a few carries, even with McFadden and Goodson out. He's making too many mistakes in practice on his assignments, particularly in blitz pickup, and has had trouble holding onto the ball. Jones is the Raiders' fastest player, but until he improves in those areas, he'll be stuck on the sideline. Even Jeremy Stewart, who was promoted from the practice squad last week, got more snaps against Baltimore than Jones.
Connections: Raiders coach Allen was a Saints assistant coach from 2006 to 2010, earning a Super Bowl ring in his final season. He was the assistant defensive line coach from 2006-07 and the secondary coach from 2008-10. ... Raiders FS Matt Giordano played for New Orleans in 2010. ... Saints offensive line/running game coach Aaron Kromer was an assistant coach for the Raiders from 2001-04.
Record watch: QB Palmer needs 277 passing yards to reach 3,000 in a season for the sixth time in his career. If he hits that milestone against New Orleans, he'll have reached 3,000 yards faster than in any season in his career. The last Raider to pass for at least 3,000 in a season was Kerry Collins in 2005 (3,759).
Stats you should know: Raiders QB Palmer and Saints QB Brees have each completed 230 passes and been intercepted nine times. Palmer has had 375 attempts to 374 for Brees. But Brees has a big edge in touchdown passes with 25 to 15 for Palmer.
Looking ahead: The Raiders travel next week to Cincinnati, where Palmer spent his first eight NFL seasons and ex-coach Hue Jackson landed this year as an assistant secondary/special teams coach after being fired by Oakland. After that, the Raiders have three straight home games against Cleveland, Denver (on a Thursday night) and Kansas City.
Prediction: Saints 34, Raiders 24
Follow Raiders reporter Eric Gilmore on Twitter @CBSRaiders.