By Darryl Briggs
Oakland Raiders vs Houston Texans
Saturday – January 7 – 3:35 pm
NRG Stadium – Houston – Texas
Records Before the Game
Oakland Raiders (12-4, 6-2 Away)
Houston Texans (9-7, 7-1 Home)
The Houston Texans hope to make their fans forget two losses this Saturday when they take on the Oakland Raiders. The first loss they hope to avenge is the 27-20 loss earlier this year to Oakland. The second loss to forget is the 30-0 playoff loss last year at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Texans are hoping their #1 ranked defense can stop the Raiders #6 ranked offense. And with Raider QB Derek Carr out with an injury, Oakland will be putting its QB hopes on Connor Cook. If you haven’t heard of Cook before, don’t be surprised. He is a rookie who is making his first ever NFL start. In fact, he is the first rookie in NFL history to makes his first start in a playoff game. A key to the game will be if the Texans defense can confuse and rattle the Oakland rookie QB, if so; they should be able to limit the Raiders to quick three and outs.
The Texans may need to take more chances on offense. The much maligned Brock Osweiler will be starting once again at QB. Osweiler lost the starting QB job to Tom Savage last week against the Tennessee Titans, but Savage was taken out of the game for a concussion, putting Osweiler back under center. Osweiler has disappointed Texans fans this year. He has thrown more interceptions (16) than touchdowns (15) and his 72.2 QB rating is his lowest ever in his career except for his rookie season when he only played in five games. But this isn’t a game Osweiller has to win… he just doesn’t have to lose it. If he can limit turnovers and let the Texans defense rattle and confuse Oakland QB Cook, the Texans should advance to the Divisional Round of the playoffs. If they do, Texans fans can forget the loss earlier this year to Oakland, and more importantly, they can forget the loss in the playoffs last year.