The Oakland Raiders travel to Houston to take on a solid Texans squad that sits atop the AFC South at 3-1. Sunday’s ball game will be a day of mixed emotion, as the Silver and Black must carry on after the passing of legendary owner Al Davis at age 82.
Their toughest road challenge in this young season probably could not have come at a more appropriate time, as the Raiders can possibly channel the spirit of Davis to get a big win to keep from falling under .500 on the season.
The Raiders must be consistent on the defensive side of the ball, especially when facing a quality offense like the Texans. With Texans’ receiver Andre Johnson out, the Raiders must put pressure on Houston quarterback Matt Schaub to disrupt their efficient passing game.
The Raiders (who are ranked 29th against the run) must contain the Texans ground as well, especially with the two headed backfield of Ben Tate, and a now healthy Arian Foster (who rushed for 133 yards and a touchdown in last year’s 31-24 victory over the Raiders). Limit the Texans big plays on offense, and getting off the field on third down will be key in Sunday’s matchup.
Oakland, offensively, must finish drives and find a way to keep the league’s leading rusher Darren McFadden’s motor running for 60 minutes. Raiders’ quarterback, Jason Campbel,l had a great game last week, but his two turnovers cost the Raiders a possible victory. If he manges the game properly the Raiders should be in good shape come the fourth quarter.
Run DMC must find a way to push through the second half lulls he’s been having in the two Oakland losses. A heavy diet of the running game, means the Raiders will control the time of possession, and that’s a big x-factor when you’re on the road.
Memo to Raiders players earlier in the week read as following, “All Raiders personnel stepping on the field in Sunday’s matchup must make a conscience effort to keep the penalty number under double digits. If this requirement is not met, everyone in the organization will be fined.” Translation, clean up that _____ well you can feel in the blank.
The passing of Davis can serve as a big motivator in Sunday’s contest, not to mention the payback factor from losing to the Texans a year ago. Head coach Hue Jackson, earlier in the week predicted the Raiders will win the division. To Raider Nation, the prediction seemed pretty accurate in their minds, and nothing to bold at all, so obviously they love Jackson’s mental state. The only problem is, to make the playoffs you have to win games like this, you know the kind you’re not favored to win.
As life without Davis begins for the Oakland Raiders, let’s see what the second quarter of the season has in store for the Silver and Black.
About the Author
Written by Arthur Kai