Raiders-Texans: Which Team's Young Players Will Step Up?

Jeff Little@@JeffLittle32Senior Writer IOctober 3, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Michael Bush #29 of the Oakland Raiders runs with the ball during their game against the Denver Broncos at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 27, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

A battle of two 1-2 teams takes place in Houston, when the Raiders and Texans clash. This isn’t the game of the week in the NFL, but is sure is for the Raider Nation and the Texans faithful.

The sad reality is once the final gun sounds, one team is going to have a record of 1-3. Then coaches and players alike will be forced to walk the plank by their owners, the media, and most importantly their fan base.

As it is with every game in the NFL, there’s a tremendous amount on the line. Both teams at times have shown glimpses of success, moments of ineptitude, reasons to cheer and cause for concern in this young season.

This game has the potential of being a very competitive game, but in this writer’s opinion, it is a must win for both teams.

In week 16 of the 2008 season the Raiders beat a hot Texans team that was on a roll. The Texans were in the process of attempting to extend their win streak to five straight, but the Oakland Raiders weren’t having any of that, winning 27-16.

The best thing about that game for Oakland was that it showed that this team has some playmakers, and even better than that, was the fact that the young players showed up and had an impact. The Raiders won with a total team effort, playing well in all three phases of the game.

From that moment, I was under the impression that this team would continue to build upon the success of this game and become much more competitive. Several key players that helped Oakland beat Houston in 2008 will not participate this Sunday. Gone and definitely missed are C Jake Grove, LG Robert Gallery, FB Justin Griffith and WR Chaz Schilens.

Flash forward to 2009 and my vision of the team’s future has changed. To say that the Oakland Raiders have struggled would be an understatement, but this week gives the team a great opportunity to right the ship. Houston is at, or near, the bottom in several defensive categories and Oakland needs to take advantage of that fact.

Offensively, now is the time for the Raiders to run the ball at least 35-45 times. Oakland needs to get all of their runners involved. Fifteen carries a piece for Michael Bush and Justin Fargas, and a total of 15 touches for Darren McFadden would be nice to see.

The Raiders should be able to get the passing game going against the Texans, but it is time for the team to use Louis Murphy and Javon Walker as the starters. I’m bringing up Walker because of the fact that he is a veteran and he’s being paid too much money to be a spectator. At the very least, he can catch the ball and run precise routes.

...the remainder of the article is in the Locker Room

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