The Texans are looking to get to 4-1 on the year this week, but it won’t be easy as they will welcome the Oakland Raiders to town. Last week the Texans beat up the Steelers, and they will need another type of that outing to beat the physical Raiders this Sunday at home. Here’s our keys and prediction for the big AFC game Sunday.
1. Keep Riding Foster – Foster terrorized the Raiders for 133 yards and a score on 17 carries in a 31-24 victory on October 3rd of the 2010 season, and he looked 100 percent last week in running past the Steelers in the 17-10 win at home to get the Texans to 3-1. Oakland’s run D isn’t very good, as they are currently 29th in the NFL against the rush, allowing 136.0 yards per game. This is lining up to be a perfect type of game for Foster to get well over 100 yards and at least one score.
2. Contain McFadden – As important as it is to get Foster going on offense, it’s equally as important to make sure that the Raiders don’t run wild with Darren McFadden, who is getting better and better. Last week the Texans didn’t have to do much to stop the Steelers below average run game, but it won’t be so easy this week. The Texans are 18th against the run this season, allowing 108.8 yards per game, and will have a big job in keeping McFadden in check. He can break a huge play at anytime.
3. Don’t Fall Asleep in the Fourth Quarter – The Texans allowed 23 fourth-quarter points to the Saints before grinding out a much-needed win versus Pittsburgh. Foster’s 42-yard touchdown run in the final frame signified Houston learned its lesson that games must be played until the final whistle. However, penalties must be kept at a minimum after the Texans were flagged nine times for 61 yards, including twice on scoring plays. This week if they are able to get a lead on the Raiders entering the final 15 minutes, they have to make sure not to let the Raiders have chances to get back in the game like the Saints two weeks ago.
Prediction – This will be a fun game to watch, with Foster and McFadden going run for run in this shootout. It could come down to which team can stop the run better, and I think that is going to be the Texans. Their D showed against the Steelers they can rush the QB, and also stop the run. Kudos to Wade Phillips for turning the Texans around, and this is a week they need to prove they are a threat in the AFC. Houston 17 Oakland 13