The showdown at Mexico City on Monday Night Football between the Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders will surely be a lively, roaring atmosphere. The battle between Texans’ head coach Bill O’Brien and Raiders’ head coach Jack Del Rio will feature a clash between opposite minded teams.
Coming into the contest, the Texans have a highly ranked defense, but an inferior offense. The rushing attack has held strong, but the passing production is ranked dead last in terms of passing yards per game. For the Raiders, both the rushing and passing attack are ranked amongst the top 10 in the NFL, with the defense showing vast improvements in each game.
The Texans and Raiders are meeting for the first time since 2014, when quarterback Derek Carr was only making his second career start. During a media session, coach O’Brien was asked to comment on the overall makeup of the Raiders and praised the complete unit and the stars each unit produces, via Kyle Martin of Raiders.com:
“Defensively, they’re big inside. They’ve got [Khalil] Mack and [Bruce] Irvin, excellent pass rushers, fast athletic linebackers, physical strong secondary and offensively, Derek Carr is playing at a high level. You got Amari Cooper, [Michael] Crabtree, those guys are playing at a high level. And [Latavius] Murray, Murray’s a 230-pound back that’s running the ball downhill. So, they’re playing at a high level, it’s a big challenge for us.”
Each unit has displayed something special during their time on the field, especially with the Raiders’ complete showing against the Denver Broncos. Del Rio has the entire roster on the same page, as they all approach each game with a business-like mentality.
Entering Week 11, the Texans have control of the AFC South, while the Raiders are tied with the Chiefs for first place in the AFC West. The Raiders are entertaining a three-game winning streak, while the Texans have won two consecutive games.
The work Del Rio has been able to do in only his second season with the Raiders is special. He is credited for putting forth a winning culture amongst the team, while the players understand the mission is nowhere near complete.
O’Brien complimented all that Del Rio and his coaching staff have been able to do, while stating the improvement in the offensive line has been a catalyst to success:
“I know, obviously, we have a lot of respect for [Raiders Head Coach] Jack [Del Rio] and the way he coaches and then offensively with [Raiders offensive coordinator] Bill Musgrave and [Raiders offensive line coach] Mike Tice. Those guys are doing a good job. They’re very difficult to deal with, lot of different personnel groups, but when it comes to bread and butter, it looks like it’s 320 pounds across the board basically, and big, physical guys that can move. It’s going to be a big challenge to stand up to that offensive line.”
The six-man offensive line has certainly produced consistent results this season. Entering Week 11, Carr has been sacked a league-low 11 times. The running back has seen continual holes while on the line, ranking fourth in the NFL.
The offensive line has also kept opposing pass rushes in check, which has created time for Carr and the passing game. The Raiders will certainly have a tough challenge on Monday night, as the Texans’ defense continually attempts to put pressure on the quarterback, led by former New England Patriot Vince Wilfork.
Both teams will be able to witness the results amongst their division on Sunday, setting up a highly anticipated matchup at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.