Raider Nation suffered a crushing defeat to the New England after pounding the New York Jets in the black hole. Now, Oakland sits in second place in the AFC West division with a 2-2 record.
As we all saw, mistakes and turnovers really hurt the Raiders this past Sunday. It has me and a lot of people thinking about this Sunday's match up against the Texans, and this could potentially be one of the biggest games of the season.
Oakland needs to control the time of possession against the Texans in this weekend's game. The Raiders had many chances against the Patriots but could not succeed. Between dropped third-down passes to a called back-pass interference play, Oakland did not have lady luck on their side.
Darren McFadden and Michael Bush had solid running games, and the offensive line has been extremely impressive opening up holes for McFadden and Bush. Denarius Moore has been looking great at wide receiver, and it was refreshing to see tight end Kevin Boss make some big first down catches.
If the Raiders can keep the chains moving with the run game and then open up the vertical passing game using the tight ends and speedy wide receivers, I think Oakland could outscore Houston and get the win.
On the defensive side, penalties are still a problem. If they can reduce the number of "stupid" and unnecessary penalties, Oakland can compete with most teams.
The run defense has been spotty for the past couple of games. In Denver, they looked as solid as ever, but between the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots running attacks, they found weaknesses and exploited them.
Since the Texans have one of the best running attacks with Arian Foster, I am looking to see the Raiders' front seven matchup versus the zone blocking running scheme that the Texans use.
The secondary needs to step up this weekend, especially if Andre Johnson is able to play for Houston. Johnson is arguably the best wide receiver over the past 5-7 years. This game will definitely show if Oakland is ready to make that step and become a playoff caliber team.