After an opening game blow-out against the Tennessee Titans, the Oakland Raiders have split two hard-fought games against NFC West opponents. The Raiders play host to the Houston Texans in a contest between two AFC Conference potential contenders. Vegas has placed the Texans as -3 road favorites in this NFL week four match-up.
Oakland (1-2) is still looking for a winning offensive combination. Bruce Gradkowski has taken over the offensive reigns from Jason Campbell at quarterback and seems to have a better command of the huddle, though still has not given the Raiders the production they need at that position. Darren McFadden, with 345 yards rushing, has fulfilled his potential in the early going and has given the Raiders the ground game they need. Louis Murphy has been a good, big-play receiver with a 15.9 average on 15 catches and Zach Miller, at tight end, is a weapon the Raiders can utilize. The Raiders have scored 13, 16, and 23 points and need to find more offense, especially against the Texans.
Houston (2-1) has been able to shut down the run but is last in pass defense, which means McFadden might find less running room while Gradkowski might find some passing lanes. Houston has given-up 24, 27, and 27 points , and has struggled to get a pass rush with anyone other than DE Mario Williams and have yet to intercept a pass.
Thus far, Houston has relied on its offense to win games and, last week, when Dallas shut down limited the Texans to 13 points, they lost. The same scenario could happen this week, especially in a hostile environment. Look for Oakland to score just enough points to upset the Texans and the beat the Vegas odds.
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