Raiders vs. Texans: Breaking Down Oakland’s Game Plan

For nearly a month, the Oakland Raiders have struggled to get their offense back on track. Now they face the Houston Texans and the NFL’s top-ranked defense, and coach Dennis Allen isn’t even certain who his starting quarterback will be.

With Terrelle Pryor resting his sprained right knee, rookie Matt McGloin took the majority of reps with Oakland’s starting offense during Wednesday’s practice. Pryor is hopeful of getting back on the field this week, possibly as soon as Thursday, though Allen was non-committal.

If Pryor sits out the game, or if he plays and isn’t at full strength, it could have a big effect on how the Raiders scheme for the Texans. The two quarterbacks have vastly different styles, McGloin’s edge being that he is a more polished pocket passer.

Several other factors will come into play as well. Oakland hasn’t won on the road this season, Houston will be welcoming back head coach Gary Kubiak and it’s looking like the Raiders will once again be without running back Darren McFadden.

Even against the 2-7 Texans, the Raiders’ margin for error is slim.

Here are four things Oakland must do to have a shot at ending its two-game losing streak.


Survive the start

Seeing Kubiak back on the sidelines for the first time since he suffered a mini-stroke on Nov. 3 should provide an emotional lift for the Texans and their fans, which means Reliant Stadium will likely be rocking early on.

The Raiders, who haven’t played well in pressure situations over the past month, have to make sure to keep their poise during the frenzy or the game could get out of hand quickly. It won’t be easy, especially if Houston’s defense gets off to a fast start and gets the crowd going.

The best way to do that, of course, is to get on the board early and often.

If Oakland can keep its...

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