The Las Vegas Raiders have had a miserable start to the season, with a 1-4 record through five games. Luckily for the Silver and Black, the same can be said for their opponent this week, the Houston Texans. Houston has a 1-3-1 record, so they’re essentially in the same boat. With both teams looking to get back on track this week, let’s take a look at how the Raiders’ offense can attack the Texans’ defense.
Houston Texans’ Defense: The Good
The Texans’ defensive mantra through three seasons has been “bend, but don’t break.” In this high-scoring league we watch nowadays, that’s usually enough to get the job done, but not this season for the Texans. Houston’s defense is poor in almost every spot, but they are pretty impressive at keeping teams out of the end zone.
Houston is currently ranked 13th in terms of points allowed. Houston has given up 19.8 points per game and has been able to keep their points allowed number under the century mark at 99. To put that into perspective, the Raiders have given up 130 points, which comes out to 26 per game. While Houston has wholeheartedly struggled on defense, they do not break often in the red zone. The Raiders have their own share of problems in the red zone, so this will be an interesting part of the game to watch come Sunday.
Houston Texans’ Defense: The Bad
Now that we’ve got the positives out of the way, we’ve got some bad things to uncover regarding this defense. First, we’ll discuss the pass defense. The Texans’ defense ranks 23rd in passing yards allowed per game, allowing over 249 passing yards per game. The part about that stat that’s especially discouraging is that they’ve allowed that many yards against Matt Ryan, Russell Wilson, Justin Fields, and Trevor Lawrence. Those four have all had their fair share of struggles this season, and the Texans have still allowed them to toss the ball all over the field.
Houston does have two young, top-40 draft picks in the secondary. Derek Stingley Jr. and Jalen Pitre headline the group, but both have clearly taken some time to find their footing at the top level. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and Davante Adams took the top off Kansas City’s defense with ease, and that should be something they have no problem with this Sunday.
Houston Texans’ Defense: The Ugly
Here, we have Houston’s run defense. This is the Texans’ worst feature, as they rank 30th in the league in rushing yards allowed, at 164.8 per game. That’s simply an astounding number. Houston does have some decent pass rushers, but in the run game, their defensive line has failed to make any sort of impact. The Texans also don’t have any great tacklers among their linebacker core, which has added to this issue.
This is good news for the Raiders and Josh Jacobs specifically. Jacobs currently ranks third among all running backs in rushing yards, with 490. Jacobs has rushed for 5.3 yards per carry and has often carried the offense on his back. This is a wonderful matchup for Jacobs, and he absolutely needs to see a lot of carries this Sunday.
The Las Vegas Raiders’ Keys to Success
So, how should the Raiders attack this defense? The Texans are weak against the run, so run-first must be the motto Las Vegas carries into this game. With a dominating run game, the Raiders will be able to control the tempo. The Texans also give up a ton of passing yards, 11.8 per completion to be exact. With that in mind, if Jacobs can get going early, it will force the defense to stack the box. Once that happens, the Raiders can attack the Texans’ defense with play-action. If both of those happen on Sunday, the Raiders should be able to walk away with their second win of the season.
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*Top Photo: AP Photo/Rick Scuteri