The Texans and the Raiders are about to meet in the regular season for the fourth time since 2014. Here's a little oddity that'll kick this one off…here's where each game was played.
2014 - Oakland, CA
2016 - Mexico City, MX
2019 - Houston, TX
2022 - Las Vegas, NV
That's four regular season matchups at four different locations - kind of odd but kind of cool at the same time. The Texans will make their first trip to Las Vegas for any type of game (preseason, regular season or postseason) with the Raiders and that has many Texans fans and supporters excited to head out west to see this matchup. It's strange to look at both teams' results for the first five games because of how similar the results have been.
|Week 1||Lost by five - cut it to five in the fourth quarter||Tied - lost a 17-point lead|
|Week 2||Lost by six in OT - lost a 20-point lead||Lost by seven - down three midway through the fourth quarter|
|Week 3||Lost by two - missed two-point conversion with 1:14 left to tie to send to OT||Lost by three - tied late in the fourth quarter|
|Week 4||Won by nine||Lost by ten - cut lead to 27-24 midway through the fourth quarter|
|Week 5||Lost by one - led much of game, missed two-point conversion to take lead in fourth||Won by seven|
These two teams can definitely commiserate with one another given the fact that a play here or a play there in three or four games and this is a matchup of 4-1 teams and not 1-3-1 and 1-4 teams. So, which team can finish in the fourth quarter in this game? Which team comes out of the chute fast after its bye week? Here's hoping that it's the Texans but it won't be easy at all out in Vegas.
As such, let's get to Know the Texans' Week 6 Foe - the Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders 2022 Schedule (1-4)
|Week 1||@ Los Angeles Chargers (L, 24-19)|
|Week 2||Arizona Cardinals (L, 29-23)|
|Week 3||@ Tennessee Titans (L, 24-22)|
|Week 4||Denver Broncos (W, 32-23)|
|Week 5||@ Kansas City Chiefs (L, 30-29)|
|Week 7||Houston Texans|
|Week 8||@ New Orleans Saints|
|Week 9||@ Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Week 10||Indianapolis Colts|
|Week 11||@ Denver Broncos|
|Week 12||@ Seattle Seahawks|
|Week 13||Los Angeles Chargers|
|Week 14||@ Los Angeles Rams|
|Week 15||New England Patriots|
|Week 16||@ Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Week 17||San Francisco 49ers|
|Week 18||Kansas City Chiefs|
Raiders OFFENSE (in 2022 Regular Season)
|Rushing Yards Per game||121.4 ypg (14th in the NFL)|
|Passing Yards Per game||239.2 ypg (11th)|
|Total offense per game||360.6 ypg (10th)|
|Turnovers lost||5 (4 INT, 1 Fumbles lost)|
Expected Raiders starting offense for Week 6
Other key offensive pieces
ALL CAPS = New to team in 2022
Keys to winning v. the Raiders offense
1. Jolt Josh
Given the way that the Texans run defense started the season, I'd imagine that Jacobs is going to see the rock 22-24 times against the Texans on Sunday. The former first round pick is problematic for a number of reasons, but the one that might make the most sense to Texans fans is that Jacobs is a lot, A LOT, like Texans rookie RB Dameon Pierce. Great contact balance. Built thick in his lower half. Never met a defender that he thought could tackle him one-on-one. Excellent vision and feel for gaps and seams in the defense. Jacobs averaged 7.1 yards per carry against the Chiefs' 4th ranked run defense in the NFL. He ran for 154 yards on 21 carries and if he reaches that number this week, the Texans defense could be in a world of hurt. The Texans cannot allow Jacobs downhill running lanes. When the Raiders run isolation/lead out of 21 or 22 personnel. It's imperative that LBs read that quickly and insert themselves into the gap and force Jacobs to slow down to make cuts or eliminate his running lanes, period. When the Raiders run toss, EVERYONE must get involved in contain, force and support to slow him down. It's a tough task for the Texans, made even more difficult because of…
2. Deny Davante
…this guy. It's evident why the Raiders brain trust wanted Davante Adams and made the trade this offseason to procure Adams' services. Now, add in Jacobs' running and the ability to use play action against a team screaming forward to stop Jacobs and voila, targets a plenty to a dynamic, route-running beast like Adams. The Texans' front seven must do everything in its power to stop the run without a ton of help from the secondary because the back four has its hands full with Adams, especially on deeper intermediate routes off of play action. The secondary needs some help from the pass rush and speaking of pass rush…
3. Chasing Carr
…the Texans pass rush generated no sacks against the Jaguars and just one sack on Chargers QB Justin Herbert when he slid short of the line of scrimmage. Minus that sack, the Texans pass rush, which I thought was going to be THE thing that carried this defense this fall, has not lived up to expectations. However, in the win over the Jaguars, when the Texans took the lead in the fourth quarter and could dictate to the Jaguars' offense, the pass rushers created a tough environment for Trevor Lawrence. It's imperative that the front limit Jacobs' impact in the run game, but when it turns into third and seven plus, this pass rush needs to absolutely make life miserable for Raiders Pro Bowl QB Derek Carr. The former Clements HS QB has much better movement skills than he's credited with possessing, but he still wants to live in the pocket. The Texans' front must make that living room pocket space very uncomfortable if the Texans want to leave Vegas with a W.
Raiders DEFENSE (in 2022 Regular Season)
|Rushing Yards Allowed Per game||103.2 ypg (5th in the NFL)|
|Passing Yards Allowed Per game||256.0 ypg (24th)|
|Total offense Allowed per game||359.2 ypg (22nd)|
|Turnovers generated||3 (2 INT, 1 Fumble recoveries - Raiders are -2 in TO margin)|
Expected Raiders starting defense for Week 6
Other key defensive pieces
|DT||NEIL FARRELL JR.|
ALL CAPS = New to team in 2022
Keys to winning v. the Raiders defense
1. The Best?
There are some tremendous pass rushers in the NFL. The Bosas. Myles Garrett. Khalil Mack is a stud. Micah Parsons is the NEXT GREAT. So, many dudes that can wreck a game. The one the Texans will face on Sunday might be the VERY best; Raiders star Maxx Crosby can ABSOLUTELY take the game over. Prior to the 2019 Draft, I hadn't had a chance to study Crosby like I wanted. I'm not even sure that I had seen him play more than a half in a game on TV that year. But, I knew he was a Texan who played at EMU and I'd heard his name enough that I wanted to really study him. So, I studied him a week before the draft and kicked myself for not having done it earlier. From the first play I saw, I knew this guy was absolutely destined to be a DUDE in this league. He's gone above and beyond my thoughts in his four years in the league. His length creates issues, and his relentlessness and twitch are hugely problematic for tackles. His displays of power and twitch are just, wow, so impressive. Even when teams decide to chip on him, he still wins inside when the tackles set inside with the chip coming on the outside. It's not a "SOMEONE needs to block Crosby" kind of game, it's an "EVERYONE needs to slow him down" sort of contest. A concerted team effort is needed for sure.
2. Put the pressure on the secondary
The Raiders put starting CB Nate Hobbs, a Lovie Smith recruit at the University of Illinois, on IR this week, so he'll miss this game. More than likely Rock Ya-Sin is going to replace him. So, either Ya-Sin tangles with the 6-4 Nico Collins or struggles to match Brandin Cooks' speed. Furthermore, that puts Amik Robertson on Cooks, which is a better size-size, speed-speed matchup for the Raiders but at 5-8, Robertson can't really match up with Collins without some safety help. This could be an interesting day for the Raiders secondary that has yielded 256 yards per game through the air and I'm ALL for the Raiders secondary struggling mightily against Texans.
3. Third, but not last
Last week, I mentioned the importance of the Texans converting third downs and the Texans struggled early in the game at Jacksonville. They were 0-5 in the first half. Then, in the second half, the Texans made a significant turnaround, converting five of the eight third downs they faced. They had three massive third down conversions on their one touchdown scoring drive. As such, it's no coincidence that the Texans scored a TD on the one drive that featured 60% of their third down conversions on the day. The math at the end of the day was right at the league average - 38.5% third down conversions. And, look what happened. This is a massively important number to ogle throughout this game on both sides, but it's been this simple for the Texans this year - convert third downs and the points go up on the board.