Countdown to Paydirt: vs. Houston Texans

The Oakland Raiders return to O.Co Coliseum for the first home game of the 2014 regular season, taking on the Houston Texans.

Dennis Allen’s squad is coming off of a disappointing 19-14 loss to the Jets in New York running their losing streak on the East Coast to 14 games.

Meanwhile, the rookie head coach Bill O’Brien and the Texans are coming off of an impressive 17-6 victory over the Washington Redskins.

The Raiders offensive line will have to keep an eye on star defensive end J.J. Watt, who may very well be the best defensive player in the NFL. The Texans like to move Watt around in order to gain the advantage so it’ll be key to keep an eye on where he is.

The Texans will be without rookie linebacker Jadeveon Clowney who suffered a knee injury last week, making things a little easier for the Raiders offense. Center Stefen Wisniewski will still need to get the protections right as the Texans finished with three sacks last week.

On offense, the Houston Texans will be headed by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick who hurt the Raiders with his feet and his arm last year. As a member of the Tennessee Titans, Fitzpatrick 20 for 42 for 320 yards and two touchdowns, one of which came in the final seconds to give the Titans the 23-19 victory.

The Texans will also look to heavily rely on running back Arian Foster as well, who had a solid game last week while rushing for 103 yards on 27 carries. The Raiders struggled in their season opener, allowing the Jets to rush for 212 total rushing yards.

Houston still features wide receiver Andre Johnson, who is one year older but still is a great wide receiver. Johnson hauled in six receptions last week for 93 yards. Tarell Brown and the Raiders secondary need to find a way to limit his receptions, especially on third down, if they want to find success in limiting the Texans’ offensive success.

Opposite of Johnson is the speedy second-year wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins scored the Texans’ lone offensive touchdown last week on a 76-yard touchdown pass from Fitzpatrick. Charles Woodson and the Raiders secondary needs to make sure that they don’t let the speedster beat them downfield.

The Raiders have come out victorious against the Texans the last two matchups, winning 28-23 and winning 25-20 in 2011, the first game after the death of iconic owner Al Davis.

The Raiders will head back to the East Coast next week, taking on the New England Patriots before heading to London to host the Miami Dolphins in week 4.

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