New Orleans, La - This wasn't the first time this season the Saints faced an inferior opponent. This wasn't the first time this season the Saints faced an opponent they were supposed to beat. Even dominate.
The difference is Sunday in Oakland, the Saints finished the job on a team that matched that description.
The final score was 38-17, a 21-point margin that may as well have been 41. That's what it felt like.
At no point were the Raiders ever in it. Not even a sloppy Saints' second quarter where the Raiders got inside the five twice could help.
The Saints were just a cut above.
On offense they were perfectly balanced: 28 passes, 28 runs. Drew Brees was efficient. He didn't throw for over 300 yards. Instead he only threw seven incompletions to three touchdowns.
Mark Ingram, Chris Ivory and Pierre Thomas carried the load once again for a rushing attack that shredded the Raiders for 153 yards.
The defense gave up chunks of yards in the first half. Did it really matter?
They completely shut down the Raider offense in the second. They also took the ball away twice. One went for a score. One stopped another.
That's all they needed.
If last week was the reminder to the NFL that the Saints season wasn't quite dead yet, this week put everyone on notice that the sleeping giant may finally be awakening.
They may be just 5-5. But given where this team was to where they are now and appear to heading, being .500 never felt so good.
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