Let’s just jump straight in to this week’s BRB staff Predictions for the Oakland Raiders vs. your Houston Texans. We almost had a clean sweep in favor of the Texans... almost.
Tim: Texans 19, Raiders 10.
What's that? A Texans' victory by more than one possession? INDEED.
It won't be pretty. In fact, it'll be the exact opposite of that. But the Texans' defense will shine, even more so than usual, thanks to Connor Cook predictably struggling in his first start...on the road...in the playoffs...against an outstanding defense. That unit will be led by Jadeveon Clowney, Whitney Mercilus, and Benardrick McKinney, with a sizable assist from the secondary.
The offense will consist of four Nick Novak field goals and a single Texans touchdown from Lamar Miller. Brock Osweiler will not throw any touchdowns and shall throw one pick, but it won't be enough to submarine the defense's efforts. On to New England!
Chris: Texans 20, Raiders 6.
I’ve never seen a city less excited for a playoff game than this one due to the impending televised execution awaiting the Texans in New England or Kansas City - but hey, playoff football is fun. I’m for sure excited to see another playoff game and I’m gonna ride it out until it’s over. Brock Osweiler is still Brock Osweiler, but despite “not having film on him,” I just really can’t envision a scenario where Connor Cook prevails in his first NFL start against the top defense in the league (at least by the most accepted measure). Even if Brock turns it over, I think the Raiders would have to get at least one TD on that turnover to win this game.
BFmf’nD: Texans 16, Raiders 10.
This season, the Raiders counted on two things to be successful: keeping Derek Carr clean and being effective enough at running the football. With Carr injured and their offensive line banged up, the Raiders will have a much more difficult time doing those things, especially in the face of a Texans defensive unit that's playing out of their collective gourds.
Capt. Ron: Texans 12, Raiders 9.
It's a field goal war in the making as two offenses struggle all day without a touchdown. Both defenses will likely focus on shutting down the run as each opponent tries to limit any risk of turnovers with their very questionable quarterbacks. This game, like so many one possession tilts this year, will come down to two to three plays and whichever team makes the least mistakes.
Titan Matt Weston, Slanderer of Blade Runner and Texas Rangers Fan: Texans 19, Raiders 16.
The Raiders were led by their passing offense. Without Derek Carr, the best part of their team is gone. That being said, Connor Cook is still going to be the best quarterback in this game. The problem for Oakland is that they aren't as good as Houston everywhere else. It's going to be close, ugly, and boring. It can go either way. It's going to come down to who makes plays at the end of this close game.
BattleRedCoat: Texans 20, Raiders 6.
Here's where Brock makes everything ten times more complicated next week, looks semi-decent, and no one knows who they want starting against the Chiefs. I think we'll do just as we did in Mexico and be able to drive down the field a couple of occasions, but no doubt we'll only get one TD. The Raiders can't get anything going. We limited them to 30 yards last time, and with no Carr, it won't get any better on offense for them.
Luke Beggs: Raiders 10, Texans 6.
The Raiders’ offensive line buys Connor Cook enough time for him to make some decent throws to Amari ooper and Michael Crabtree, but mostly they just attack the Texans LBs with the usage of RBs in the pass game. This isn't going to be a fun game for those who enjoy offensive football.
kdentify: Texans 17, Raiders 14.
The Texans bring out the worst of Brock Osweiler, as the giraffe proves yet again that he's not the team's QB of the future. But they're playing a Raiders team that's going to be starting Connor Cook, and that allows Romeo Crennel's men to wreak havoc. This is a contest between two teams starting sub-standard quarterbacks. The defense will carry the day, and I will place Romeo Crennel's defense against any offense in the NFL.
UprootedTexan: Texans 16, Raiders 13.
The All-Field-Goal Offense will be in full gear again as Nick Novak nails three FGs and a PAT brought on after an unexpected TD pass from Brock Osweiler (any TD pass from Osweiler counts as unexpected) to DeAndre Hopkins.
Connor Cook is going to rely on his "big time college football" experience to get through Saturday's game. I'd like to think the Texans' defense is better than Alabama's, so they'll hopefully do to Cook what Alabama did to him in the Cotton Bowl last year.
Mike Bullock: Texans 23, Raiders 20.
The #1 defense in the league against a rookie quarterback. Brock Osweiler against Oakland. History dictates that Houston wins this one handily. Brock throws for one touchdown, Lamar Miller scampers for another, and the All Field Goal Offense contributes nine more points to seal the deal. Meanwhile the OakVegas Raiders score one touchdown on defense, another on special teams, and kick two field goals which just aren't enough. Without help from the referees to shut down Houston drives on third and one or fourth and one, Oakland just can't win.
Please use the comments section to give your opinion on the game’s outcome, and enjoy the playoffs! (C’mon, really - enjoy it. We will have an ENTIRE OFFSEASON to worry about the bad stuff).