The NFL’s Wildcard weekend begins with a couple of teams dealing with QB injuries as the Oakland Raiders brawl with the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston. The Raiders went 12-4 during the regular season and they were 6-2 on the road, while the 9-7 Texans went a very solid 7-1 here at home. This contest has a start time of 1:00 pm EST.
Vegas odds have the Texans listed as 3.5 point favorites, while the total has been set at 36.5. This contest will be televised on ESPN with a start time of 4:35 pm EST.
Breaking Down The Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders are in the playoffs for the first time since 2007, but the player who really led them this year, will not be a part of the postseason. Derek Carr was injured in the 2nd to last game of the year and last week with Matt McGloin getting the start, their offense sputtered vs the Broncos. They scored just 6 points in the loss and McGloin threw for just 21 yards, before leaving the game with a shoulder injury. He is now listed as questionable and if he can’t go then it will be rookie Connor Cook, who threw for 150 yards with a TD and an INT last week vs the Broncos. The Raiders may have to rely on their solid ground attack in this one and that means more Latavius Murray, who ran for 788 yards and 12 TDs, while also posting 264 yards receiving. The WR corps is very strong with Amari Cooper and michael Crabtree, but how effective will they be without Carr getting them the ball? The Raiders come in ranked 6th in total offense, 13th in passing, 6th in rushing and 7th in scoring, putting up 26.0 ppg. The defense will really need to step up and it has struggled this year, but they will not be taking on a great offense in this one, especially with the Texans having QB issues of their own. This defense comes in ranked 26th in total yards allowed, 24th vs the pass, 23rd vs the run and 20th in points allowed, giving up 24.1 ppg.
Trends: The Raiders have gone 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game and 23-9 ATS in their last 32 games following a ATS loss. The Over is 18-7-1 in their last 26 games after accumulating less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game, while the Under is 5-1 in their last 6 games in January.
Breaking Down The Houston Texans
The Houston Texans played in the weakest division in the league this year and they used that to take the AFC South division title. They finished the year with a 24-17 loss at Tennessee in a game that meant nothing, but it could have been a costly game as they lost QB Tom Savage, who left with a concussion. He is listed as questionable for this game and if he can’t go then it will be back to Brock Osweiler, who was benched earlier in the year due to ineffectiveness. Brock has a QB of just 72.2, which ranks as 29th in the league. Osweiler did throw for 253 yards and one TD last week vs the Titans, but can he do it as a starter again. We shall see. The Texans have been a bad offensive team this year and will have to rely on Lamar Miller, who has run for 1073 yards, despite the fact that he missed the last two games. He will play in this one. The Texans come in ranked 29th in total offense, 29th in passing, 8th in rushing and 29th in scoring, putting up just 17.4 ppg. The Texans will also have to rely on their defense and it has been a good one this year, plus they will be taking on a team that may be down to it’s 3rd string QB. The Texans come in ranked 1st in the league in total defense, 2nd vs the pass, 12th vs the run and 11th in points allowed, giving up just 20.5 ppg.
Trends: The Texans have gone 10-2-1 ATS in their last 13 games after accumulating less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game, but just 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games after allowing less than 250 total yards in their previous game. The Over is 4-1 the last five games in this series, while the Under is 6-1 in their last 7 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
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