Don't look now, but the New Orleans Saints are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, having won 4 of their last 5 games. For the first time this season, New Orleans is .500 with a record of 5-5. Their latest triumph came today on the road against the Oakland Raiders. A balance offensive effort and a big play defensive performance propelled the black and gold to a 38-17 victory over the black and silver.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees didn't have a giant game in terms of yards, but he was precise and efficient. He completed 20 of his 27 pass attempts, throwing 3 scores, including 2 to Lance Moore (pictured left). With his team leading by 21, he watched his backup Chase Daniel get mop-up duty in the final 4 minutes of regulation.

Mark Ingram led the Saints in rushing. The 2nd year pro out of Alabama had one of his better games in a Saints uniform, rushing 12 times for 67 yards and a touchdown. Chris Ivory (37 yards) and Pierre Thomas (30 yards) added their own punch to a solid New Orleans rushing game. As a team, the Saints rushed for 152 yards against Oakland.

Defensively the Saints forced several turnovers, picking off Carson Palmer twice. Each interception were huge momentum swings. The first came early when Malcom Jenkins picked off a pass and returned it 55 yards to paydirt, giving New Orleans a 14-0 lead. The second interception was reeled in by Roman Harper in the Raiders end zone, preventing them from touching the scoreboard early in the 2nd quarter. The Saints also sacked Palmer 3 times.

Next Sunday the Saints return home to take on the team that ended their season a year ago. Kickoff versus the San Francisco 49ers is set for 3:25.