Raiders Preview: Playoff Hopes Already On The Line Against Texans
Josh Jacobs, Raiders
Oct 10, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (28) runs the ball in the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: ​Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

You’re only as good as your record.

It’s an old football adage, and if you’re a Raiders fan at the moment, it’s one that stings to hear. To have been in every single game and to have lost four out of five is a painful reality, but…it’s reality.

Another reality? There’s still hope.

Not only do the Raiders have an incredibly favorable schedule in front of them (they face the Texans, Saints, Jaguars, Colts, Broncos and Seahawks over the next six weeks), but they’re also just a couple of games behind a number of teams right in the thick of the playoff race with 12 games still to go.

But hope isn’t guaranteed, and if the Raiders want to keep that flame alive, they’ll need to perform this Sunday when the Houston Texans — the other AFC team with one win — come to town. To get ready for Sunday, here’s our weekly preview with key stats, key players and a prediction:

Key Stats

Houston: 26th in points per game, 13th in points allowed per game

Las Vegas: 6th in points per game, 28th in points allowed per game

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at those numbers and see that this matchup will be an intriguing battle pitting strength against strength (and weakness against weakness.

On offense, the Raiders will send one of the best units in the league up against the strength of the Texans (if you can call it that) — their defense. One area in which Houston has thrived is in red zone defense, where they are allowing touchdowns at the fourth-lowest rate (39%).

On the other side, it’s a battle between two units that are struggling. The Texans are one of the worst offenses in the league, while the Raiders boast one of the leakiest defenses so far – which team can turn their fortunes around on Sunday? The answer might be the key to one team doubling their win total.

Key Players

Houston: RB Dameon Pierce 

According to PFF, the rookie Pierce is second in the league in the rate of missed tackles forced. This week he finds himself up against the 4th ranked rushing defense in yards allowed per game. Can the Raiders bottle Pierce up and force Davis Mills to beat them through the air? Or will Pierce’s breakout continue and stress defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s group?

Las Vegas: RB Josh Jacobs

On offense, Jacobs has undoubtedly been the Raiders’ best player this season. In his last two games before the bye, Jacobs set and then re-set his career high in rushing yards with 144 and 154 yards, respectively (along with three touchdowns, 10 catches and 70 receiving yards). As he looks across the line this Sunday, Jacobs will see the 30th-ranked rushing defense (yards allowed per game) and will be licking his chops every time the ball is snapped. 


Raiders 31, Texans 14

At home, off a bye, and desperately needing a win? Give me the Raiders big. The offense has felt just a tick off all season, but I think things click on Sunday, and Josh Jacobs puts up another monster game as the Raiders cruise.

On defense, the Raiders will be without Nate Hobbs but should be getting Anthony Averett back off of IR to replace him. I expect the Raiders to make the Texans one-dimensional, which, if Davis Mills is your quarterback, isn’t a good thing.