"Hey," you say. "I read your stupid little predictions post last week. If you're such a seer, how come you didn't say anything about Jadeveon Clowney suffering a knee injury that required surgery and will keep him out for the next four to six weeks?"
Fair question, anonymous reader I conjured up in a desperate attempt to find a somewhat original way to start this post. The answer is simple. I didn't write about it because I wasn't sure you were strong enough to handle it.
You're a Texans fan, and you're coming off a 2-14 season. A season where your beloved team lost fourteen (14!) games in a row. A season where your team was so wretched that it had the first pick in the entire 2014 NFL Draft. A season so abysmal that many of the players and coaches you had grown to love over the previous eight years were fired. You've had to deal with a lot, and I didn't want to pile on with yet another piece of disturbing news. I mean, can you imagine if I had told you about Clowney getting hurt in his first regular season game before the game was played? Why, you'd have been beside yourself! This would have been you reacting to the news, had a camera been around and if phone booths were still a thing.
No, friend. I wasn't going to put you through that. Knowing the future is a cross only the most jaded and whiskey-addled should bear. You don't deserve to suffer any more. That's why I didn't tell you.
That, or because I really have no clue what I'm talking about and this entire exercise is a farce. HA HA HA...WE KNOW THAT CAN'T POSSIBLY BE TRUE SO LET'S JUST MOVE ON, OKAY?
Three things sure to happen when your undefeated Houston Texans take on the winless Oakland Raiders tomorrow afternoon...
1. As I wrote a few days ago, plenty of eyes will be on Whitney Mercilus tomorrow. I expect Romeo Crennel to continue to move J.J. Watt all over the place to take advantage of matchups and to confuse Oakland's offensive line, which in turn should allow Mercilus and Brooks Reed to have some success. I remain skeptical that the Brooks Reed we saw last week is here for the long haul, but I do think he'll have another very good game against the Raiders. No sacks for Reed this week, but he'll be a factor in the pass rush and will do his usual good work on run defense. Mercilus, on the other hand, will sack Derek Carr. He won't make you forget about how amazing Clowney will be, but he'll be more than sufficient in relief this week.
2. DeAndre Hopkins had the big TD catch last week. This week, it's Andre Johnson's turn. 'Dre will get his first touchdown under Bill O'Brien, and--gasp--he'll get it on a red zone target. The best player in franchise history adds another five catches and 64 yards to his Hall of Fame resume tomorrow.
3. Bill O'Brien made no secret of what his formula on offense is, so Arian Foster is in for a bunch of work against the team he grew up hoping to play for. While I don't see Foster finding the end zone tomorrow, I do see him rushing for 87 yards on 23 carries and adding another 24 yards on three receptions. O'Brien will continue to ride his RB, and Foster will continue to show he's still a very productive player.
PUT YOUR NAME ON IT: The difference in this game will be the Texans' defense. They will pressure and rattle Carr The Younger and, rookie QB that he is, he will struggle. I foresee a plethora of three and outs (BRANDING!) for the Raiders, a couple of turnovers, and a few sacks in which you remark that Derek looks a lot like David now that you think about it.
It won't be all sunshine and lollipops. Houston's offense will continue to plod along and will not score many points. It'll make for a game that's fairly similar to what you saw last week. Texans 16, Raiders 9.
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