Oakland-Houston: "Raiders Defeat the Texans in a Blowout Win"...?
When I wake up Monday morning, grab a cup of coffee, head outside to grab the paper, and open the sports section, that is the headline I want to read.
There are a myriad of things that must come together for that to happen though.
First and foremost is Nnamdi must shutdown Andre Johnson if he can shut Andre down like he did Fitzgerald it will be a very long day for Houston and Matt Schaub. That being said Stanford Routt must perform well against Kevin Walter who burned the Redskins in Week 2 for 11 receptions for 144 yards.
Thomas Howard is our best linebacker as far as coverage goes. Thus far this season we have played against teams that do not have even remotely great tight ends. This week we are playing Houston who has Owen Daniels.
Daniels is a very good tight end who is a very reliable receiver. Houston has not gone to him much this season, but that is because Johnson and Walter have been getting open. That will not happen against our secondary so Schaub will have to rely on Daniels more. Scott and Wimbley are great pass-rushers but not great against the pass, which means Howard needs to play more to minimize Daniel's effectiveness.
John Henderson, Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly, Lamarr Houston, and the remainder of the defensive line must win the battle in the trenches for two reasons. First, Arian Foster has been torching defenses all season and leads the NFL in rushing yards thus. If the defensive line can clog all the holes for him to run through then it becomes 2nd-and-8 instead of a 2nd-and-4.
Secondly, Matt Schaub has averaged close to 300 yards per game this season, throwing for three touchdowns against the Redskins. They must get to the quarterback and not give him time to make plays as he aptly demonstrated against the Redskins when they played Dallas last week and was sacked four times, threw two interceptions, and had a quarterback rating of 77.
Darren McFadden looks nothing like he did last year, and that is a great thing. He is third in the league in rushing yards and is up to the challenge against the second best run defense in the league. That number however is inflated given that the opponents they have played thus far are all biased against the run, relying heavily on passing the ball.
McFadden has only 46 rushing attempts through three games, 22 of which were against the Cowboys. In addition to Darren, Michael Bush is also looking to get more attempts in his second game back.
Thirdly, Brian Cushing is still suspended for violating the league's substance abuse policy, making their run defense suspect to a team that runs the ball more than 10 times a game. Between McFadden and Bush they should get around 35 carries, wearing out that defense. They will be forced to stack the box with eight or nine players.
With eight players in the box, here's hoping we get Super Mario back, who in his last game, shut Mario Williams down leading to a Raiders win. Preventing Mario Williams from getting into the backfield is a pertinent task. If Williams is minimized then Bruce should be given time to make plays against a less than stellar secondary that features a rookie and a second-year player named Glover Quinn. Time will also give our receivers plenty of opportunities to make big plays.
All that being said, it should be a great day for the Raiders on Sunday.
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