Oakland Raiders vs. Houston Texans Preview
Where: Reliant Stadium, Houston
When: Saturday, January 7, 2016, 4:35 PM ET
Line: Oakland Raiders (+4) vs. Houston Texans (-4); total: 36.5 – view all NFL lines
TV Broadcast: ABC/ESPN
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Betting on the Oakland Raiders (+4)
Murphy’s Law is at work right now for the Raiders. Already without Derek Carr for the rest of the season, the Raiders saw backup Matt McGloin injure his non-throwing shoulder in a 24-6 loss in Denver on Sunday.
For now, the Raiders are hoping McGloin can get back on the field. Otherwise, it’ll be rookie Connor Cook under center in the wild-card game. Cook has playoff experience, albeit in the College Football Playoff with Michigan State, and his only pro outing was in the Denver game, passing for 150 yards on 14 of 21 completions with a touchdown and an interception. This quarterback quandary should be partly eased by Oakland’s elite offensive line that allowed the fewest sacks in the regular season.
Also, the absence of Carr should force Oakland to add burden to its backfield that finished sixth in the regular season with 120.1 rushing yards per game.
Defensively, the Raiders could be facing a different Houston quarterback in Tom Savage. Back in Oakland’s 27-20 win over Houston in Week 11, it was Brock Osweiler taking snaps for Houston. Oakland’s defense is among the worst in the league but it also has one of the most terrifying players in the form of Khalil Mack. Mack has 11 sacks on the season to go with 73 tackles.
Oakland is 7-3 SU and 8-2 ATS in its last 10 road games.
Betting on the Houston Texans (-4)
Somehow, the Texans are still playing football in January. Having a mediocre football team like Houston in the playoffs is a discussion for another time, though.
The Texans now have the home-field advantage against Oakland and they will look to give their fans an early-year present: a ticket to the next round of the playoffs. Houston is 8-2 SU and 5-4-1 ATS in its last 10 home games.
The Texans, who lost to Tennessee in Week 17, 24-17, are still noncommittal about whether it’ll be Brock Osweiler or Tom Savage under center for them in the AFC wild-card game. Savage took over the starting gig since Week 15 but suffered a concussion against the Titans. In any case, the Texans will have to give their backfield lots of chances against Oakland’s run defense that gave up 117.6 rushing yards per game in the regular season.
In the aforementioned previous encounter with Oakland, the Texans produced 124 rushing yards with Lamar Miller accounting for 104 to go with a touchdown.
Houston has been decent on defense this season. In fact, it ranked first in total defense in the regular season with only 301.3 total yards allowed per game. Without Carr leading Oakland’s passing attack, the Texans should have an easier time containing the Raiders’ offense this time around.
Houston (-4) wins, 24-21.
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