Photo credit: @Raiders
By Joe Hawkes
The Oakland Raiders have finally come to the finish line of their 49-day stretch away from the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum as they prepare for a trip to Houston to take on the 4-3 Texans. This will be the first meeting between the two clubs at NRG Stadium since the 2016 Wild Card game, which the Texans prevailed over the Raiders, 27-14.
The two teams met earlier that season, an international home game in Mexico City for Oakland, in which the Raiders defeated Houston, 27-20, that brought the all-time series to 6-4 in favor of Houston.
Originally slated for a 10:00 a.m. PT start time, the kickoff was flexed to 1:25 p.m. PT by CBS. The Raiders are looking to finish their five-game road trip at 3-2, and win their third-straight road game over the Texans.
Last week, the Raiders (3-3) were hammered by the Green Bay Packers, 42-24 at Lambeau Field in Week 8 following their Bye Week. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers lit up the Raiders defense, throwing for five touchdowns and rushing for another one en route to completing 25-of-31 passes for 429 yards as the Packers defeated the Raiders for the eighth-straight time dating back to 1990.
Green Bay (6-1) has scored 30-plus points in their last five meetings against the Raiders.
Raiders running back Josh Jacobs recorded his second-straight 100-yard rushing game, rushing for 124 yards on 21 carries with 5.9 yards per attempt. With 554 yards rushing through the first six games of his career, Jacobs surpassed Bo Jackson’s mark of 553 yards in 1987 for most in franchise history.
Quarterback Derek Carr completed 22-of-28 passes for 293 yards, two touchdowns, but had two costly turnovers in the red zone for Oakland.
With Oakland trailing 14-10 late in the first half, Carr had Oakland in position to retake the lead. After Carr found tight end Darren Waller on a 48-yard hookup down the middle of the field, the Raiders had first and goal at the Packers’ 3-yard line.
On second down, Carr rushed for the pylon, but Packers linebacker Blake Martinez forced a fumble and the ball went through the back of the end zone for a touchback.
Following Carr’s turnover, Rodgers would connect with wide receiver Jake Kumerow for a 37-yard touchdown that would give Green Bay a 21-10 lead heading into halftime.
With Oakland desperately trying to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter trailing 28-17 following a 7-yard touchdown from Carr to Waller, Packers cornerback Kevin King intercepted Carr with 8:09 left to play in the game that seemingly iced the game for Green Bay.
Following the turnover by Carr, Rodgers would throw register his sixth score of the day, a 74-yard pass to wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who finished with two catches for 133 yards.
Waller recorded his second 100-yard receiving game this season, hauling in seven catches for 126 yards and two touchdowns. Both scores were Waller’s first for the season.
Waller’s 44 catches are the most for a Raiders player through the first six games, breaking Hall of Famer Tim Brown’s 41. Waller also lead the team with 485 yards.
Defensively, rookie defensive end Maxx Crosby registered a sack for the second-straight week. Crosby recorded a sack against the Bears in Week 5 in London.
The Texans are coming off a 23-20 loss to their AFC South rival, the Indianapolis Colts, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Week 7.
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is one of the best passers in the league, throwing for 1,952 yards with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions with a 104.1 passer rating. Watson leads the NFL’s ninth-best scoring offense, averaging 26.4 points per game.
Houston wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins will have Oakland’s defense on high alert. Hopkins is currently third in the NFL in catches with 49 to go along with 508 receiving yards and three touchdowns (tied with fellow teammates Will Fuller and tight Darren Fells).
Fuller is second on the team in catches (34) and yards (450).
Defensively for Houston, linebackers Zach Cunningham (53 tackles) and Benardick McKinney (52 tackles) are always around the ball and barely misses tackles.
Fellow linebacker Whitney Mercilus leads the team with 5.5 sacks, while defensive end J.J. Watt is second with 4 sacks.
Following Sunday’s game, the Raiders will return home to begin a three-game stretch where they will face the Detroit Lions, Los Angeles Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals, respectively.
Houston will travel to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars in Week 9 before heading into their Bye Week.