Tale Of The Tape: Oakland Raiders At Houston Texans
- QuarterbackThe Raiders have seen the other side of Terrelle Pryor the last three weeks. The Raiders' quarterback may be a hard-working player who has had some decent moments this year, but he has not thrown a touchdown pass in the last three games. He was an abysmal 11-of-26 in the Week 10 loss to the ho-hum Giants, and his 5-10 TD-interception ratio is abysmal.The Texans can’t find a way to win no matter who is quarterback. While they appear to have an edge with Case Keenum at quarterback that they didn’t have when Matt Schaub was lining up under center, they still don’t have enough to win games in the second half. Keenum has a stellar 7-0 TD-interception ratio, and that could indicate he is close to a breakthrough.
- OffenseThe Raiders don’t have a stellar running game, but they do have a chance to get something out of the ground attack with Darren McFadden (hamstring) and Rashad Jennings. McFadden did not play against the Giants, but he could be ready for this game. Denarius Moore has the know-how to find the holes in the defense and Rod Streater appears to be a capable receiver.The Texans are rich with offensive talent as they can stand the season-ending back injury to Arian Foster and give the ball to Ben Tate (ribs), who has the toughness to run hard between the tackles. Wide receiver Andre Johnson has been on a roll in recent weeks and he is complemented by DeAndre Hopkins. Garrett Graham has been adequate at the tight end position.
- DefenseThe Raiders are not the most talented defensive team, but they play with effort on an every-week basis. They have gotten a huge lift this season from middle linebacker Nick Roach, who leads the team with 64 tackles and he also has 2.0 sacks. Defensive end Lamarr Houston has a team-high 4.0 sacks and he has also forced two fumbles.The Texans are quite an enigma on defense since they rank first overall but they can’t seem to win a game. Defensive end J.J. Watt is not the dominating player he was last year, but he has 6.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Cornerback Kareem Jackson has 35 tackles and four passes defended, but he has not come up with any interceptions.
- Special TeamsThe Raiders have suffered quite a bit without Shane Lechler, who is now punting for the Texans. Marquette King had his punt blocked and returned for a touchdown against the Giants in Week 10. While Sebastian Janikowski is not having his best year – just 11-of-15 on FG attempts – he still has a powerful leg.The Texans have struggled on special teams for years and their play has not improved much this season. Keshawn Martin is not a threat as a return specialist and their coverage teams are below average. Placekicker Randy Bullock is just 14-of-23 on his FG attempts.
The Texans appear to have the measurable edges on offense and defense, and that’s been the situation most weeks. However, they have lost seven games in a row and their season is a disaster. If they can’t beat the Raiders at home, when can they win? -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor