After a rough outing in Green Bay last week, the Oakland Raiders look to change their luck as they prepare to take on the Houston Texans.
Game Info: Oakland Raiders (3-3) @ Houston Texans (4-3)
Time: 10:00 AM PT
Venue: NRG Stadium
TV/Radio: CBS/Raiders Radio Network
Gareon Conley gets his immediate revenge game.
It’s not often a player faces his former team the same week he got traded, but that’s what we’ll see this week with Gareon Conley. Conley was dealt early this week to Houston for a third-round pick after his rough game in Green Bay. Rookie Trayvon Mullen will get his first opportunity to start this week, although he didn’t get the best luck, since he is tasked with defending DeAndre Hopkins and Kenny Stills. Conley on the other hand, will get to face a variety of wide receivers he’s familiar with, and there’s no better way to seek revenge against your former team than getting a pick or two.
Raiders getting healthy
The Raiders have struggled with injuries this year, but it might be getting a lot better this week. Tyrell WIlliams and Trent Brown have both returned to practice. Gabe Jackson was put on the IR early this season, but there’s hope for him to come back this week as well. If the Raiders can get Brown and Jackson back in the same week, this O-line will be at full health for the first time this year.
Raiders secondary Vs Texans passing attack
As a frustrated DeAndre Hopkins fantasy owner, I know he’s had a bit of a down year, However, this is one fantastic passing offense. Deshaun Watson is a special young quarterback. He can run, has a tremendous arm, and can make decisions on the fly. Hopkins has had a rougher first half of the year than expected, but he put up 106 yards and a touchdown on nine receptions against the Colts last week, and this Raiders secondary isn’t much of a threat. Hopkins is, however, and with defenses having to pay special attention to him, it’s opened up opportunities for Will Fuller, Kenny Stills, and Keke Coutee.
The Raiders secondary will be a bit weaker with the loss of Conley, and the cornerback group looks pretty weak on the depth chart. Trayvon Mullen will start opposite Daryl Worley, and the only two backups are Nevin Lawson, and Keisean Nixon. This young group is going to have to be able to somewhat contain the Texans receiving threats, or Watson is going to have a field day.
Raiders Pass Rush Vs Texans O-line
This is a HUGE matchup, one the Raiders must take advantage of on Sunday. The strength of Houston’s offense is their passing game, and their glaring weakness is the O-line. The Texans traded a load of draft picks before the season to acquire LT Laremy Tunsil from the Dolphins. I think that was a good move, and it was one they had to make to protect their franchise quarterback’s blindisde.
The rest of the line however, is weak. Watson has been forced to scramble a lot in his young career, and it’s helped him learn to make decisions on the fly, and make plays out of nothing. This is a game in which Paul Guenther MUST be more creative with his play calling. The Raiders boast the league’s fourth lowest blitz percentage. Guenther has the personnel to blitz, and he needs to do it this week. If he continues to rush the ordinary four pass rushers we’ve seen all too often this year, Watson will have the time to sit back and pick apart this defense. We just watched Aaron Rodgers do it to the tune of five touchdowns last week, and something needs to change this week.
Injuries: (As of wednesday’s injury report)
FP: Dwayne Harris, WR
LP: Trent Brown, OT, Tyrell WIlliams, WR
DNP: Rodney Hudson, C, Gabe Jackson, OG, Josh Jacobs, RB, Arden Key, DE
FP: AJ Moore, S, Justin Reid, S, Kenny Stills, WR
LP: Dylan Cole, ILB, Tashaun Gibson, S, Roderick Johnson, OT, Taiwan Jones (remember him?), RB, Jonathan Joseph, CB, Bradley Roby, CB, Jon Weeks, LS
DNP: WIll Fuller (out), WR, Greg Mancz, C/OG, Tytus Howard, OG/OT
I don’t think the Raiders are able to hold the Texans in this one. Guenther has always been reluctant to blitz, and I think that can only hurt the Raiders’ young secondary. Watson has too much time to throw the ball, and with the help of Hopkins, he picks apart this defense. The Raiders offense plays well, and Jacobs has another great game. This team isn’t built for a shootout though, and I don’t think they’ll be able to keep up with Houston’s high-powered offense.