Matchup: Oakland Raiders vs. Houston Texans
Date/Time: November 17th, 1:00 PM ET
Spread: Houston -7
Week 11 of the NFL season is here! With all of the games on the docket each and every week, we are going to be zeroing in on just one side or total that we think is the best of the bunch. Join us today, look at the game on Sunday, November 17th between the Oakland Raiders and the Houston Texans.
It’s not all that often that you see an underdog which is considered square, but Oakland is that underdog this week at +7 against the Texans at Reliant Stadium. We faded Oakland last week, and it managed to cover us and nearly win the game thanks to the fact that QB Eli Manning couldn’t take advantage of the fact that his defense held down the Raiders to 213 total yards of offense. That said, we’re going back after the Raiders once again in a game that looks awfully similar to us in Houston.
We mentioned the injury report for Oakland last week, and we are doing it again this week. QB Terrelle Pryor has an MCL injury, and he sat out practice on Wednesday, giving some doubt about his status for this week’s duel. RB Darren McFadden is probably going to sit once again with a hamstring injury, and nine others are listed as questionable or worse on the roster. That’s a heck of a lot of men on a team that wasn’t all that good in the first place that might not be playing, and it makes us wonder whether Oakland has the worst team in the league right now on paper, especially if Pryor doesn’t play.
We were right last week when we said that the ground game was probably going to be limited for the Raiders against the New York Giants. Pryor only had 19 yards on five carries, and he didn’t look like himself in the pocket. The Giants sacked him four times on the day. RB Rashad Jennings had a respectable day, rushing for 88 yards on 20 carries, but there wasn’t a single play by the Oakland offense that went for more than 23 yards.
The Raiders have scored 20 points or more in three straight games, but there still isn’t a game in which the team has scored more than 27. Oakland’s offense isn’t nearly as good as those numbers suggest though, as it is averaging just 330.8 yards per game, and it has a date with one of the most talented defenses in the NFL on Sunday.
It also must be noted that this is a horrid road trip for the Raiders. They played last week in the Big Apple and had to fly all the way back to Oakland, and the road trip to Houston isn’t exactly a short one. This is the first time this year in which the Raiders have played back to back road games. They only did it once last year, and the second road trip to the San Diego Chargers was a significantly shorter trip than the one to Houston, not to mention the fact that this is a 1:00 p.m. ET start, which feels like 10:00 a.m. back home.
The last two times that Oakland played the second leg of back to back road games with the second being a 1:00 p.m. ET start, it allowed 46 to the Green Bay Packers and 38 to the Buffalo Bills, both situations of which occurred in 2011.
Houston hasn’t won a game in seven tries, and it is certainly turning into the biggest disappointment in the league this season. The argument could be made that the Texans should have been beaten by the San Diego Chargers in Week 1, and they could have been beaten by the Tennessee Titans in Week 2. Really? An 0-9 Houston team? It wasn’t that far from reality.
That said, the Texans have played a brutal schedule, and they probably should have more wins than this under their belts. Just in the last four games, Houston had a chance to beat the Kansas City Chiefs, had the Indianapolis Colts dead to rights, and had the Arizona Cardinals threatened. On top of that, a Week 4 game against the Seattle Seahawks never should have been lost either.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak is back with the team, and that might give it an emotional lift. The last we saw of Kubiak, he and his Texans were leading big at halftime against the Colts when the head coach collapsed on the sidelines and suffered a stroke. Houston never looked good in the game again, and it ended up losing last week without Kubiak in Arizona.
Yes, a whopping 10 Texans are on IR right now, but all really isn’t lost yet. The team has to have some faith. There are still two games left with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and winning those two and this one would leave the team at 5-7 with four games to play. It isn’t likely to run the table to get to 9-7, but if the team could find a way to be even 7-8 going into Week 17 against the Tennessee Titans, perhaps it could backdoor its way into the playoffs.
Remember that the Texans have the #1 ranked defense in the game at 280.0 yards per game, and opponents are only passing for 166.6 yards per game against them. This is the first game since October 13th in which the team has been favored, and it comes against a team that it should have no troubles knocking off.
The Raiders are in a bad spot in this one, and though they did win their last trip to Reliant Stadium in 2011, they are only 2-5 ATS all-time against the Texans. This is a really nice spot to back a Houston team which many has left for dead. QB Case Keenum and the gang will find a way to get a win in this one in a big time way to at least hopefully begin to salvage what’s left of this season.
Week 11 NFL Pick of the Week: Houston Texans -7
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.