The Oakland Raiders haven’t had a winning season since 2002. If you recall, that was the year that a bunch of Jon Gruden’s players, coached by Bill Callahan, went to the Super Bowl and lost to Jon Gruden’s Bucs.
That, of course, was also the Texans inaugural season.
The Raiders have had six head coaches dating back to ’02: Callahan, Norv Turner, Art Shell, Lane Kiffin, Tom Cable and now, Hue Jackson. Since ’02, the Raiders are a perfectly symmetrical 39-93.
To say that things haven’t gone well for the Raiders over the past decade is an understatement, but there are signs that things may be turning around just a bit.
The silver and black finished 8-8 last season and are off to a 2-2 start this year which includes an impressive win over the Jets in Week 3.
These aren’t Jamarcus Russell’s Raiders anymore, so if you’re one of those who chalked this up as an easy ‘W’ you may need to check yourself.
That said, the Texans should be able to run the ball all day long on Sunday, and if the Raiders want to stack the box and single cover Jacoby Jones and Kevin Walter, Matt Schaub still has enough weapons at his disposal to make them pay.
The middle of the field could be fertile territory for Schaub to Owen Daniels and James Casey who could create serious matchup issues for the Raiders (see comment about Rolando McClain below)
The Texans are currently 6 point favorites but as you know, anything can happen on Sunday, especially when you’re missing your best player and you have several others banged up.
Here’s a few factoids about this week’s opponent to get the week started:
- The Raiders lead the NFL in rushing with 178.8 yards per game.
- Darren McFadden is the league’s leading rusher with 468 yards on 75 carries (a gaudy 6.2 yards per carry and 117.0 per game) along with 3 TDs. McFadden has six runs of 20+ yards, three runs of 40+ yards and a 70 yard TD scamper. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield of course. Although they are different styles of runners, this will be a good warmup for Ray Rice and Chris Johnson in coming weeks.
- The Raiders (32.0) are second only to the Texans (34.2) in rushing attempts per game.
- Jason Campbell threw two ugly interceptions in a humbling 31-19 loss to the Patriots last week. But Campbell has only been sacked twice this season and overall the Raiders offensive line has been playing well.
- On the other hand the Raiders defense is giving up 5.9 yards per rushing attempt – good for worst in the league, so between McFadden and Foster, get ready for a battle of the running games on Sunday. Should be a short game, right?
- With the departure of Nnamdi during the offseason, U of H alum Stanford Routt is now the Raiders top corner
- Kevin Boss has been effective replacing Zach Miller at tight end
- The Raiders leading receiver is rookie fifth rounder Denarius Moore (Tennessee) who leads the team with 12 catches for 199 yards and 2 TDs.
- The Raiders are the most penalized team in the league with 39 flags in four games.
- Raiders second year middle linebacker Rolando McClain has been taking some heat lately.
- Raiders head coach Hue Jackson isn’t backing down from his prediction that the Raiders will win the AFC West.