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Playoffs
10-07-2011, 01:23 PM
Three to Focus On- Raiders @ Texans
October 7th, 2011 | Author: Chris Benson

This week five match-up showcases two teams who are in a better position than they’ve been in the past decade.

The Raiders defense couldn’t quite keep up with the Patriots’ high-octane offense, and their own offense didn’t close drives out quite as well. With that being said, they weren’t embarrassed in front of their fans against a quality opponent and they have played quite well on a whole all season. The city of Oakland has to be excited about the direction this organization is headed in despite having an average 2-2 record.

If the Raiders are going to compete in the AFC West this year, they’ll have to do a better job of keeping opponents out of the end zone, as their current average of 28.25 points allowed per game won’t get it done over the long haul. They’ll have a tough task ahead of them in shutting down the Texans offense, which has shown it can score on just about anybody and everybody.

The first quarter of the Texans’ season went just about as well as they could have hoped, but this same team began the 2010 season 4-2 before finishing with a 2-8 collapse and a final 6-10 record. They’ll look to avoid repeating their 2010 shortcomings and send the Raiders back to Oakland at 2-3. They will look to do this, by running the ball down their throats like they did a year ago when the team churned out 249 yards on the ground in a Week 4 game in Oakland. Here are three things we’ll be focusing on as these two teams try to establish their legitimacy as playoff caliber teams.

1) Ground and Pound
Make no mistake about it: this game will be won or lost on the ground. Both teams rely heavily on their ground game, and when they played each other in 2010, 367 yards were produced on the ground. Arian Foster, who ran for 131 yards in that game, looked to be in fine form last week (+1.7 rushing) in his first full game back from a hamstring injury. On the other side of the ball, the league’s leading rusher, Darren McFadden, will look to exploit a Texans defense still in transition. In addition to the two starters, there is an abundance of players who can run effectively with the ball in this game: Michael Bush, Ben Tate, and explosive weapons such as Taiwan Jones and Jacoby Ford. With record-setting paces in the passing game, this match-up provides a potential throwback game of hard running and war in the trenches. The fact that players like Ford will be on the field with the ability to take a reverse the distance if the defense keys in to the inside carries just makes it all the more exciting. If Tate and Derrick Ward both can’t play as they’re both currently questionable, a heavy dosage of Foster is to be expected from Houston.

2) Raiders offensive line vs. Texans pass rush
While McFadden is a special running back, his offensive line isn’t quite in the same class as the Texans’. If the Raiders can’t ground out the tough yards, they’ll need Jason Campbell to step up and make some plays. Campbell has played well this year now that he doesn’t have Bruce Gradkowski breathing down his throat, and is ranked seventh in our current overall quarterback grades. It’s a good thing Campbell did well against the blitz last week because he could be under pressure a lot against a Texans defense that applied pressure to Ben Roethlisberger 27 times in week four. The Raiders’ offensive front will have to account for several players that can get to the quarterback, and must be able to recognize where the pressure is coming from. If unaccounted for, those blitzes can cause problems not only in the passing game, but can disrupt some running plays as well.

3) Who’s going to fill in for Andre Johnson?
The Texans have been in need of a solid and consistent secondary receiving option to Andre Johnson for quite some time, and though they’ve gotten streaky production from tight end Owen Daniels and others, they still haven’t found a reliable option. The Texans like Jacoby Jones and Kevin Walter, but the latter is somewhat limited physically despite being an adequate receiver, while the former has underachieved. It would be nice if Houston could find a long-term answer, but for the time being somebody has to elevate their game for a few weeks to compensate for the loss of Johnson. Jones looked to be getting things together towards the end of the 2010 season, grading in the green in both of his final two games, and there’s no time like the present for him to continue his progression as a receiver. We’ll be keeping a close eye on Jones to see if he takes advantage of the opportunity and works himself permanently into the starting lineup, or if he has had his last shot to win the job if he doesn’t play well. If Jones disappoints over the next few weeks, it isn’t hard to imagine the Texans selecting a new project in the mid-to-late rounds of the 2012 draft to develop into a future No. 2 option across from Johnson.


http://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2011/10/07/three-to-focus-on-raiders-texans/

ObsiWan
10-07-2011, 07:00 PM
Good find. Thanks for posting.

One thing we have that I'm not sure the Raiders can handle is our play-action game. If Foster gets rolling, then the play-action will be deadly. As long as we can keep Seymour (13 tackles/3 sacks/two fines) off Schaub's back we can win this.

Ckw
10-07-2011, 08:33 PM
Who the hell is Taiwan Jones?

Hervoyel
10-07-2011, 09:43 PM
Who the hell is Taiwan Jones?

I swear I got a mental picture of some guy with a huge 70's afro and dressed like Hong Kong Fuey when I read that name. He's standing between Jim Brown and Pam Grier and getting ready to fight the man.

The Pencil Neck
10-08-2011, 12:59 AM
Who the hell is Taiwan Jones?

He's a rook. 4th round pick.

Line_Producer
10-08-2011, 04:10 AM
Pencilnecks description, while correct, doesn't really do that kid justice.

He ran a 4.33 40 and has stupid quick split times. The raiders have once again chosen speed in the draft. He's very raw, but he can fly. I'd live to see what the raiders can do with ford, jones, and DHB running out routes at the same time.

Rey
10-08-2011, 07:58 AM
I disagree that this game will be won or lost on the ground.

Teams that can't pass the ball don't win many games. Teams that can, do. If you can pass the ball you're always in the game.

Your running game can be below avg and you can still win a bunch of games. If your qb isn't making plays your team will struggle to win.

Just like most other games this year I think this game will be won by the qb that has the better game; not necessarily statistically but football wise. Game managers are fine too, but they still need to be able to complete passes to move the sticks and pick up yardage. If we get after Campbell we win the game. Jmo.

If McFadden runs his team to a victory then the offense will have failed.

The Pencil Neck
10-08-2011, 12:26 PM
Pencilnecks description, while correct, doesn't really do that kid justice.

He ran a 4.33 40 and has stupid quick split times. The raiders have once again chosen speed in the draft. He's very raw, but he can fly. I'd live to see what the raiders can do with ford, jones, and DHB running out routes at the same time.

The Raiders have a lot of fast guys.

Taiwan Jones has had 2 carries so far.

SouthSideTexan
10-08-2011, 01:06 PM
Who the hell is Taiwan Jones?

That's Hong Kong Jeffersons cousin.