Raiders catching the Texans at a good time

Heading into a game against the Houston Texans in a game with potential playoff implications the Oakland Raiders are getting healthy.

Trent Brown has recovered from his calf injury and will take his place amongst the projected starting line for the first time this season. Brown, right guard Gabe Jackson, center Rodney Hudson (foot), left guard Richie Incognito, and left tackle Kolton Miller will finally be Tom Cable’s vindication.

Raiders offense to the max

Josh Jacobs is ranked 8th in the league in rushing with 554 yards and is averaging a robust 5.1 yards per carry. Having played a full game less than the NFL leaders is what makes his ranking that much more impressive. Raiders have been monitoring the workload of their young back this week. While not practicing all week, Jacobs is expected to be a go for Sunday. Finally being able to run behind the offensive line he practiced with all training camp should only improve his production.

Derek Carr has only been sacked eight times and hasn’t been sacked in the last three games. All while deploying all of the glorious offensive line depth they have. Having all five starters playing together is only going to boost his confidence in pass protection. In addition to his pass protection, he is coming with a retooled arsenal.

Tyrell Williams has participated for the three consecutive practices, with all signs pointing towards being a go for Sunday. Williams has scored in every contest he’s played for the Raiders. Williams, the Raiders leader in receiving touchdowns (4), will be part of a revamped receiving corps which includes Zay Jones making his silver and black debut.

Jones is expected to make his debut after his trade from Buffalo during the bye week. Taking his first week during the bye to learn the offense with Gruden, Jones has been getting his timing down and gaining familiarity with his offensive coordinator and his quarterback. Receivers coming from Buffalo tend to fare well once being removed from the circled wagons of the Buffalo Bills.

Golden opportunities

Williams, Jones, Hunter Renfrow, Keelan Doss, and Trevor Davis are going up against a Texans secondary with 3 of it’s 4 starters dealing with hamstring issues, corners Bradley Roby and Johnathan Joseph as well as free safety Tayshaun Gipson Sr. have all been limited in practice with hamstring issues. Former Raider Gareon Conley is potentially making a start for his new team, six days removed from being a Raider.

Conley wasn’t having the best season for the Raiders, hence the perceived need for his departure. A sense of familiarity issue exists between the Raiders and Conley. One which can yield big plays in either direction. In training camp it was the offense getting the better of Conley. Not to say he didn’t make any plays, but Carr, Williams and others are going to test him early and often. On offense the Texans have weaknesses to exploit.

Tytus Howard, the Texans starting right tackle and Greg Mancz the backup guard/center will both be out against the Raiders. The Texans line hasn’t been world beaters by any stretch, Watson has been sacked 21 times, but, the Texans are ranked #6 with 939 rushing yards. The Raiders are the occupants of the 5th ranked rushing defense, and a compromised line which is average at best, is exactly what they need to get back on track.

Missing from the lineup will be Will Fuller, Watson’s second favorite target. Fuller’s 450 yards on 34 catches is indicative of him being the speed receiver. Without Fuller’s speed to stress the coverage of the safeties, it should allow defensive coordinator to focus his attention and defense on bracketing DeAndre Hopkins.

“It doesn’t matter who you play, as much as when you play them”

Once again an age old cliche has the potential to hold true today. The Texans secondary is in shambles, the offensive line compromised. Missing key pieces across the board the Texans are going to have to lean heavily on the run game, Hopkins, Kenny Stills and Watson’s playmaking. The NFL did Jon Gruden and the Raiders a solid, flexing the start time to 4:25pm est. Texans haven’t played a late game since a Week 3 contest against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Final Prediction: Raiders 34, Texans 27

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