What: Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans
When: Sunday, October 27 at 4:25 pm ET
Where: NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas
How (TV): CBS
Latest point spread: Raiders +6.5, Texans -6.5
This AFC matchup looks to be a good one, featuring the 3-3-0 Oakland Raiders, who can look both talented and clueless in the very same game, and the 4-3 Houston Texans, who have all the talent in the world if they could only turn that into more wins.
The Raiders are still healing up from their big loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 7, while the Texans are still reeling from their divisional loss to the Indianapolis Colts, so both teams could use a win on Sunday to boost morale.
The Texans are favored by almost a touchdown in this one, but the Raiders are ready to beat those odds, and here we take a quick look at how these two teams measure up for their Week 8 encounter.
Jon Gruden’s 3-3 Oakland Raiders have been inconsistent at best, lousy at worst, but they have enough talent on board (running back Josh Jacobs and tight end Darren Waller especially) to get a lot more wins this season.
Derek Carr’s offense has been too timid and it’s time for him to get aggressive, especially against a Texans pass coverage that’s ranked at the very bottom of the league, although Carr has been accurate, so far completing almost 75 percent of his passes (74.1).
The Raiders are tough against the run (ranked 5th) but weak against the pass (ranked 31st) so until that discrepancy is fixed by Gruden and his bosses, expect games to be close.
The Houston Texans are coming off a disappointing divisional loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 7 that put them a half a game behind in the AFC South, a division that still has four viable contenders.
Deshaun Watson is ranked 8th right now for his production, but he’s had 5 interceptions to his 13 touchdown passes so his accuracy has to get better for the Texans to keep winning, especially when it comes to the postseason, where every play (and pick) counts.
The big surprise for Houston this season has been running back Carlos Hyde in their backfield, currently ranked 12th in the league and averaging 4.2 yards per carry, with the threat of his runs helping the Texans’ passing attack be more successful.
These teams have met 11 total times (including 1 postseason game), with Houston winning 7 of those times and Oakland winning the other 4 games.
The last time the Raiders played the Texans was during the 2016-17 season wildcard playoffs in January when Houston beat Oakland at home by a score of 27-14.
If the Raiders win this matchup, they’ll move to 4-3-0, staying in a solid second place in the AFC West behind a Kansas City Chiefs team that will be playing without its superhero Patrick Mahomes for a while due to injury.
But if the Texans come out winners in this one, they’ll be 5-3 and keep apace of the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South, at least for now as the Colts enter Week 8 with a 4-2 record facing the Denver Broncos.
Who’s favored to win this Week 8 Raiders-Texans matchup?
Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?
Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?
We’re going to briefly compare the Raiders and the Texans next and attempt to answer those questions and more.
Check out also, NFL Week 8 Power Rankings to see who climbed closer to the top this week.
Passing attack: The Oakland Raiders have the 15th ranked passing offense in the league right now, averaging 233.0 yards per game through the air after seven weeks.
Quarterback Derek Carr is currently ranked the 20th most productive passer in the league having completed 140-of-189 passes for 1,410 yards and 8 touchdowns with 4 interceptions and a completion percentage of 74.1.
The Raiders’ leading receiver after seven weeks is tight end Darren Waller, who is currently 16th in the league with 44 catches for 485 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Rushing attack: The Raiders’ rushing attack is ranked 6th in the NFL after averaging 137.8 yards on the ground per game.
Josh Jacobs is the Raiders’ best runner (he’s listed as questionable for Week 8, see below) and he is currently the 8th best in the NFL with 109 carries for 554 yards and 4 rushing touchdowns, averaging 5.1 yards per carry.
Oakland has scored 127 total points this season, or 21.2 per game, which is the 22nd best total in the NFL.
Listed as questionable for Week 8: wide receiver Tyrell Williams (foot), guard Gabe Jackson (knee – MCL), running back Josh Jacobs (shoulder), offensive tackle Trent Brown (calf), center Rodney Hudson (ankle) and offensive guard Gabe Jackson (knee – MCL).
Injury notes: center Jordan Devey (pectoral) is listed as out, while quarterback Nathan Peterman (elbow), running back Isaiah Crowell (Achilles) and guard Cameron Hunt (undisclosed) have been placed on injured reserve.
Passing attack: Houston has the 11th best passing attack in the league right now after averaging 261.9 yards through the air each game.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson is the 8th most productive NFL passer after completing 163-of-235 passes for 1,952 yards and 13 touchdowns with 5 interceptions and a completion percentage of 69.4.
The Texans’ best receiver is currently DeAndre Hopkins, who has caught 49 passes for 508 yards with 3 touchdowns in seven weeks, ranked 13th among NFL receivers right now.
Rushing attack: Houston has the 8th ranked rushing attack, so far averaging 134.1 yards on the ground per game.
Carlos Hyde is the Texans’ best runner and now he is the 12th most productive in the NFL with 111 carries for 461 yards and 3 touchdowns, averaging 4.2 yards per carry.
Houston has scored 185 points in 2019, averaging 26.4 per game, which is currently the 7th highest scoring average in the NFL.
Listed as questionable for Week 8: offensive guards Greg Mancz (concussion) and Jon Weeks (ankle), running back Taiwan Jones (hip), offensive tackles Tytus Howard (knee – MCL) and Roderick Johnson (neck).
Injury notes: wide receiver Will Fuller (calf) is listed as doubtful, offensive tackle Tytus Howard (knee – MCL) is listed as OUT and offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson (undisclosed) is listed as NFI, while tight ends Kahale Warring (concussion) and Jordan Thomas (cracked rib), offensive guard Senio Kelemete (wrist), running back Lamar Miller (knee – ACL), offensive tackle David Steinmetz (ankle), quarterback Joe Webb (foot) and wide receiver Isaac Whitney (wrist) have all been placed on injured reserve.
The Raiders rival the Texans when it almost every offensive stat except one, and that is the ability to score points, and in that sense, Houston has the definite offensive advantage on Sunday.
Pass coverage: The Raiders have the 31st best (or second-worst) pass defense in 2019 so far, allowing opponents to throw for 289.8 yards through the air per game.
Oakland’s defense has 3 team picks and they have 10 sacks total.
Run coverage: The Raiders are the 5th best NFL team against the run right now after allowing opponents to run for 86.7 yards per game.
Oakland has allowed their opponents to score 165 total points, or 27.5 per game, which is the 23rd lowest in the NFL.
Make sure you watch for Raiders’ outside linebacker Tahir Whitehead, the team’s best tackler right now with 39 tackles (3 for a loss) and a quarterback hit.
Currently, the Oakland player with the most sacks to his name is Benson Mayowa, the defensive end posting 4.5 sacks, 4 quarterback hits, 2 forced fumbles and 8 tackles (3 for a loss).
Raiders’ free safety Erik Harris has been keeping busy in the secondary, so far with an interception, 3 passes defended and 25 total tackles.
Listed as questionable for Week 8: defensive end Arden Key (kneecap).
Injury notes: linebacker Vontaze Burfict (suspension) and defensive end Aden Key (kneecap) are listed as out, while linebacker Marquel Lee (ankle), cornerbacks Makinton Dorleant (undisclosed), Isaiah Johnson (concussion) and D.J. Killings (undisclosed) and safety Johnathan Abram (shoulder – labrum) have been placed on injured reserve.
Pass coverage: The Texans’ defense is 29th best against the pass, allowing their opponents to throw for an average of 275.6 yards per matchup.
Houston’s defense has 3 interceptions on opposing quarterbacks and they have 17 total sacks after seven weeks.
Run coverage: The Texans are 3rd best against a rushing attack, allowing opponents to run for an average of 84.3 yards per game.
Houston has allowed their opponents to score 164 total points this season, or 23.4 per matchup, which is 21st fewest in the NFL.
The Houston player with the most tackles after seven weeks is inside linebacker Zach Cunningham, who has 53 total tackles (T-22nd most in the league) with 4 of those tackles for a loss, plus a sack, 1 quarterback hit and a fumble recovery.
Outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus actually has more sacks (5.5) than premiere defensive end J.J. Watt (4.0) at this point in the season, plus he has an interception, 2 passes defended, 4 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and 23 total tackles.
Hopefully, Texans’ free safety Tashaun Gipson will play on Sunday after being listed as questionable (see below), because he’s definitely fun to watch, so far with 2 interceptions (one was a 79-yard pick-six) and 6 passes defended, 2 quarterback hits with 25 total tackles (1 for a loss).
Listed as questionable for Week 8: linebacker Dylan Cole (hamstring), cornerbacks Johnathan Joseph (hamstring) and Bradley Roby (hamstring) and safety Tashaun Gipson (back).
Injury notes: linebacker Duke Ejiofor (Achilles), linebacker Chris Landrum (undisclosed), cornerback Phillip Gaines (ankle), defensive tackle Ira Lewis (undisclosed) have been placed on injured reserve.
Both of these teams are horrible against the pass and wonderful against the run, but the Raiders allow opponents to score more points than the Texans (over a field goal per game) so the defensive advantage goes to Houston on Sunday.
Oakland’s punter, A.J. Cole, is in his rookie NFL season and this year he has punted 24 times for a net average of 38.7 yards per punt, which is currently the 33rd best in the league.
Houston’s veteran punter, Bryan Anger, is in his eighth NFL season, brought in after the Texans cut Trevor Daniel, and so far this season he has punted 12 times for a net average of 45.2 yards per punt, best in the league right now.
Oakland’s placekicker, Daniel Carlson, is in his second NFL season and 2019 is his first full season with the Raiders.
Carlson has made 5-of-6 field goals in 2019, his longest a 45 yarder, and so far, he has missed no extra point attempts (16/16).
Houston’s Hawaiian born placekicker, Ka’imi Fairbairn, just had a second-round restricted free agent tender placed on him in March.
Fairbairn is 9-for-12 this season, his longest a 50-yarder, and he missed 4 extra point attempts (18/22).
One of Oakland’s punt returners, wide receiver Trevor Davis, is ranked 4th in the league in return average.
Davis has returned 5 punts for 64 yards, averaging 12.8 yards per return, his longest for 32 yards.
Houston’s punt returner, wide receiver DeAndre Carter, is ranked 18th in punt return average this season.
Carter has returned 10 punts for 92 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 9.2 yards per return, his longest for 23 yards.
For some reason Houston’s placekicker is struggling with extra-point attempts (Fairbairn has missed 4 of them this season), so the Oakland Raiders will have the special teams advantage on Sunday.
The Oakland Raiders will win this one if they can maintain possession more than the Texans do and grind them into submission with their excellent run game, assuming Josh Jacobs is healthy enough to play (see above).
It would also help if Paul Guenther’s defense could put pressure on Wilson while containing him to the pocket, limiting his ability to make the big plays he’s now known for.
Jon Gruden needs to get his Raiders to be more aggressive on both sides of the ball if they want to win this road game – with the defense getting after Watson and Carr’s offense taking a few more chances downfield.
A look at the stats tells you that the Texans are the better team right now, so they should win this game based on that alone.
Of course, it would help a lot if they can get a 100+ yard game out of Carlos Hyde, establishing the run early so Watson can play action off of that in the latter parts of the game.
Truth be told, Deshaun Watson is going to take this Raiders’ secondary apart, and it will be difficult for the 31st ranked Raiders passing defense to stop him, with only 3 team interceptions so far this season and just 10 sacks for the entire team.
The Houston Texans by a point, because not only are they at home, they have a more effective defense (at least against the run) and that will prove to be the difference in this one.
John Breech of CBS Sports predicts the score as Raiders 27, Texans 24.
My prediction for the final score is Texans 27, Raiders 26.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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