Oakland Raiders (1-2 1-2 ATS) vs. Houston Texans (1-2 1-2 ATS) Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX 1 PM EST Sunday October 4, 2009 on CBS
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Raiders +9.5 / Texans -9.5
In an important AFC game for both teams this Sunday the Oakland Raiders head to the Lone Star state to take on the Houston Texans. Even though it is only the 4th game of the season this may be a make or break game for both teams, as the loser will be 1-3 and the winner will be 2-2 and back in their respective division race. The Raiders and Texans both trail an undefeated team in their own division in the Denver Broncos in the NFC West and the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South.
Last week the Texans lost a tough game 31-24 to the Jacksonville Jaguars while the Raiders were crushed by the Denver Broncos 23-3.
To say the Raiders were dominated last week by the Broncos is a major understatement. In the game the Raiders had a grand total of 137 total yards, 42 total passing yards, and only had 9 first downs. It also did not help that Oakland had 3 turnovers. The Raiders were underdogs in the game by 2.5 points and since they were blown out by 20 they came nowhere near covering the spread. The total of the game was 38 and since 26 points were scored that total was not reached, as the Under was the winning bet.
In the Texans loss to the Jags Houston had their chances, but a fumble
on the Jacksonville 1-yard line cost them the game. The Texans did have
a solid game on offense with 397 total yards, but they simply could not
stop the run, as the Jags rushed for 184 yards. Houston QB Matt
Schaub had 300 yards passing and had 3 TD’s in the first half,
but in the second half he could not get anything going. The Texans were
underdogs by 4 points in the game and since they lost by a TD they did not
cover the spread. The game was a high scoring one with 55 points scored
so the posted total of 47 points was surpassed.
The Raiders have the 2nd worst ranked offense in the NFL so far this season, but while their passing attack is horrible at least they are averaging 103 rushing yards per game. That gives them hope since the Texans have the worst run defense in the league. In Houston’s last 3 games they allowed 184 rushing yards to the Jaguars, 190 to the Jets, and 240 to the Titans.
Since the Texans rush D is so weak Oakland RB’s Darren McFadden (148 yds 1 TD) and Michael Bush (110 yds 1 TD) will be counted on to move the chains.
If the Raiders can run the ball in this game it will also keep Matt Schaub (823 yds 7 TD 2 INT) and the solid Texans’ offense, which is averaging 333 total yards per game, on the sidelines.
QB JaMarcus Russell (378 yds 1 TD 4 INT) is struggling big time averaging 126 passing yards per game and is also the lowest rated starting QB in the league with a paltry QB rating of 39.8. Hmmm, maybe the Raiders should not have cut Jeff Garcia before the season began. Speaking of Garcia he was recently cut by the Eagles since Donovan McNabb is now healthy. Maybe Al Davis should make a good personnel decision for a change and re-sign him to take over at QB.
Oakland’s D ranks 23rd and they have struggled this season at stopping the run and the pass. Their secondary will have to step up in this game and their front line has to get to Schaub and put pressure on him.
The Texans are a one-dimensional offense, as even though they rank a respectable 15th they are averaging a legit 263 passing yards per game, but only 71 rushing yards per game. RB Steve Slaton (127 yds) is only averaging 3.3 yards per carry, but he can improve upon that facing a weak Raiders’ defense. If Slaton can pick up some yards and take some pressure of Schaub the Texans will be tough to beat in this game.
The Oakland secondary will have their hands full trying to cover WR Andre Johnson (18 rec 270 yds 2 TD), who is one of the best receivers in the game and Schaub’s main target.
The Raiders’ D will take a big hit if Safety Michael Huff cannot play. Huff was injured and could not finish the Broncos game and the Raiders really need him in this game, as he is tied for the league lead in interceptions (3).
Jason’s Pick: Man how to pick this game? The Raiders’ offense is horrible and JeMarcus Russell has been so bad that the Raider Nation hopes Jeff George comes out of retirement. . However, the Texans cannot stop any RB from picking up big yards. Still, the Texans have a solid passing offense and that will be the difference in this game. If the Raiders run the ball well and control the clock they will cover the big 9.5-point spread, but they will not win this game. Houston will move to 2-2 while the Raiders will be 1-3 and well on their way to another high draft pick, which Al Davis is sure to screw up yet again. Take Oakland to cover.