Join Date: May 2004
HPF:Raiders preview:Into the Black Hole
What to Expect
When the Texans have the ball…
Kubiak has been matching up with the Raiders twice a year for two decades. Due to injuries on the front line, expect the Texans to first try to get the running game working while mixing in short passes to Andre Johnson and Eric Moulds. Rollouts and bootlegs will soon follow if the handoffs are successful. If they aren't, look for Houston to try to test corners Nnamdi Asomugha and Fabian Washington with intermediate routes.
While a trick play or two may be in order, don't expect Kubiak to take many chances that could endanger Carr and knock him out of the game. Holding off defensive lineman like Warren Sapp and Derrick Burgess will be critical to the Texans' success, which means the Texans will need to get a big effort from their patchwork line.
When the Raiders have the ball…
Be prepared for anything. A new coordinator means they could try new things, but the keys to their offense will be Fargas and wide receiver Randy Moss. When motivated, Moss is one of the best receivers in pro football. When he's not motivated, the Raiders have few weapons to fall back on. Any Al Davis team will be expected to challenge the secondary deep a few times so corners Demarcus Faggins and Dunta Robinson should be alert to it.
Brooks has been a wild card throughout his career, sometimes brilliant and sometimes brutal. Texan fans will be hoping for brutal this week. Oakland has been shut out twice this year, and they have failed to score a touchdown in two other games.
Match-Ups to Watch
DE Mario Williams vs. OT Robert Gallery
Gallery was the number two overall pick, yet he has been almost a bust in silver and black. Williams has the size to bull rush him and the speed to get around him. Getting Brooks rattled in the pocket will make life easier for the struggling Houston defense. Williams will be a key to putting pressure on the pocket. Look for the Texans to blitz.
OTs Ephraim Salaam and Eric Winston vs. DEs Tyler Brayton and Derrick Burgess
Likewise, Houston's shaky offensive wall must protect Carr and open up running lanes for the Texans offense to work. They need to produce better than they did against the Jets for Houston to move the chains.
Texan Confidence vs. The "Black Hole"
Yeah, those goons are scary dressed up in their Halloween finest but most are just your typical insurance salesmen, accountants, funeral home directors and registered sex offenders the rest of the week. Don't be intimidated. The Texans need to keep their confidence and composure to pull out a win. As far as we know, Fred, none are carrying tasers.