Houston Texans Vs. Oakland Raiders: What To Look For


The Houston Texans had a bit of carpe diem of their own this past Sunday by taking control and defeating the Washington Redskins 17-6.

It’s been quite some time since I’ve seen our defense so dominant because for a good chunk of last season, we weren’t dominating much of anything.

Although the team gave up 372 passing/rushing yards combined, they made it count out on the football field when it counted and held the ‘Skins to just six points.

The Texans head out west to take on the Oakland Raiders this Sunday and it will be a reunion of sorts with former players such as Antonio Smith and Matt Schaub.

Here’s some things to look for position-wise as the team takes the field:

QUARTERBACK:  Ryan Fitzpatrick looked brilliant against the Redskins going 14-for-22 for 206 yards passing for one touchdown.  That’s good for a magnificent 109.3 quarterback rating.  Fitz has had a good history against the Raiders — last season, he went 30-for-42 for 320 yards and two touchdowns for a 109.2 QB rating leading the Tennessee Titans to a 23-19 win when he was their QB.  I fully expect that he continues his success against this team even though they’ve made some improvements on the defensive line.  Derek Carr has become Raider Nation’s newest darling with the incredible performance he had in the preseason.  Carr went 20-for-32 for 151 yards for two touchdowns for 94.7 QB rating this past Sunday against the New York Jets.  This guy has a cannon for an arm and can throw the ball deep but it remains to be seen if he has enough weapons that can catch his razor-sharp passes.  Matt Schaub?  Not so much.  He has once again lost his job because of poor QB play and this time he can’t blame it on an injury — Carr has outplayed him in every sense of the word.  I was hoping that Schaub could get that fresh start he needed to prove the naysayers wrong but one has to wonder if he still has the mojo.  He really is not a bad QB but he has really been in a severe slump that dates back to last season.

Sep 7, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans running back

Arian Foster

(23) stiff arms Washington Redskins free safety

Ryan Clark

(25) during the second half at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

RUNNING BACK:  Arian Foster looked like the one of old this past Sunday!  It was amazing how he trotted and sliced through the defense in his signature fashion.  He made it look too easy.  Foster ended up with 103 rushing yards off 27 carries solidifying himself as one of the top rushers for Week 1.  I fully expect Foster to have another one of these games Sunday because of the Raiders struggle to stop the run.  The 212 yards that they gave up to the Jets was the most for any team and that’s good enough for 32nd — yep, last place.  Maurice Jones-Drew had a minor procedure done on his hand and may not be available but Darren McFadden and Latavius Murray will likely take over the bulk of carries but their effectiveness may be marked — McFadden only had only 15 rushing yards off four carries last week.  The strength of the Texans’ D-line affords the opportunity for the running game of the Raiders to be stopped in their tracks.  They’ll have to beat them in the air.

Sep 7, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver

DeAndre Hopkins

(10) runs for a touchdown during the game against the Washington Redskins at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

WIDE RECEIVER:  Andre Johnson and Deandre Hopkins are turning into nice one-two punch as our top targets at wide out.  Both pose significant threats to any defense that we face because either one can beat you and can haul in a ball from just about anywhere.  Johnson had six receptions for 93 yards and Hopkins had four receptions for 89 yards with a jaw-dropping 74-yard catch for a touchdown that got Texans’ fans on their feet with 4:15 left in the first half!  However, the Raiders are better with defending the pass only giving up 190 yards last week, good for 10th in the league.  Our guys are offensive monsters — I just don’t see the Raiders having any chance of stopping them.  Bill O’Brien used Demaris Johnson quite a bit, relegating him to spot duty and it will be interesting to see how his role with the Texans will eventually be shaped.  The Texans claimed Johnson off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles Aug. 31.  Ryan Fitzpatrick describes him as being “a very special talent.

Sep 7, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans outside linebacker

Brooks Reed

(58) during the game against the Washington Redskins at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

DEFENSE (FRONT 7):  Jadeveon Clowney is out after having arthroscopic surgery on his knee this past Monday.  It’s now up to Brooks Reed and Whitney Mercilus to fill in and step up for him in his absence.  Reed had five tackles with one assist and a sack last week.  He also tackled-for-loss for 12 yards.  I expect Reed to continue his surge as of late but I’m not sure what I’m are going to see out of Mercilus who didn’t even appear on the stat sheet.  J.J. Watt will continue his dominance by being all over the field, don’t worry fans, although he has missed some practice this week, there’s no way in hell he will miss this game!  Also keep an eye on the progress of Brian Cushing, who seemed to be knocking some rust off from being out for the second half of last season.  The coaching staff seems to be bringing him along a bit slower by limiting his reps out there on the field as well, which I’m all an advocate for.  We need him to survive a full season for crying out loud!  Cushing still managed to have five tackles and three assists last week.

Sep 7, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans strong safety

D.J. Swearinger

(36) tackles Washington Redskins running back

Alfred Morris

(46) during the game at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

DEFENSE (SECONDARY):  The threat of Carr’s offensive prowess is going to test the wits of our secondary Sunday.  These guys need to be ready for whatever is thrown at them.  I’m positive that they will.  Johnathan Joseph was all over the field last week with being the leading tackler getting 11 of them.  He seems to be ready to impress this season but I do have some subjectivity to his motive.  He will be making nearly 10 million next season in the last year of his contract and I’m sure he’s doing everything he can to make sure that his money is guaranteed.  But nonetheless, it’s great to see him back out there.  In addition to Joseph, D.J. Swearinger, Kareem Jackson and Kendrick Lewis all chipped in dutifully.  With the addition of Danieal Manning, they are loaded in the backfield.

More from Houston Texans

And there you have it — it will also be intriguing to see how the Texans deal with the crowd noise in Oakland because they are quite a rowdy bunch, especially those who dare to head to the infamous black hole!

Silent count it is…

The Oakland Raiders will host the Houston Texans at O.co Coliseum this Sunday — kickoff is scheduled for 3:25 p.m. CDT.

The game will be televised on CBS and broadcast via the radio on 610 SportsRadio AM/100.3 (KILT).

Go Texans!