Game Predictions & Player Projections - OAK vs. HOU

David Dorey, @DMDorey
WILDCARD WEEK DET at SEA (SAT-8:15 PM ET) MIA at PIT (SUN-1:05 PM ET)
UPDATED NYG at GB (SUN-4:40 PM ET) OAK at HOU (SAT 4:35 PM ET)

Prediction: OAK 14, HOU 23 (Line: HOU by 3.5, O/U = 36.5)

UPDATE: Matt McGloin is questionable to play but will suit up and be the backup for Connor Cook. Both Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper are questionable but will play as they always do.

The Raiders lost the AFC West last week when they lost in Denver but losing Derek Carr almost certainly dooms their chances to advance in the playoffs. The Raiders are 6-2 on the road while the Texans are 7-1 at home. This is not likely to be a high scoring game and the Vegas line suggests something like 17-20. Both teams have problems with their offense but the Texans are at home and have the better defense.

The Raiders won 27-20 when the Texans and Raiders played in Mexico City during Week 11.

Oakland Raiders

1 @NO 35-34 10 BYE ---
2 ATL 28-35 11 HOU 27-20
3 @TEN 17-10 12 CAR 35-32
4 @BAL 28-27 13 BUF 38-24
5 SD 34-31 14 @KC 13-21
6 KC 10-26 15 @SD 19-16
7 @JAC 33-16 16 IND 33-25
8 @TB 30-24 17 @DEN 6-24
9 DEN 30-20      
News | Statistics | Roster
OAK @ HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB Connor Cook 170,1
QB Matt McGloin
RB Latavius Murray 40,1 3-20
RB Jalen Richard 20 2-10
RB DeAndre Washington 20 2-10
WR Amari Cooper 4-40,1 -
WR Michael Crabtree 4-30
WR Seth Roberts 2-20
TE Clive Walford 2-30
PK Sebastian Janikowski 0 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Raiders have enjoyed one of their best seasons in a long time so it is cruel to have lost Derek Carr right before the postseason. It is like qualifying for a NASCAR race and then being told you can only drive a car from a Hertz Rental lot. It did not go well in Denver and is no more likely to succeed in Houston.

QUARTERBACK : Matt McGloin injured his shoulder and left the Denver loss. Connor Cook was pressed into his first action and completed 14 of 21 passe3s for 150 yards and one score with one interception. While calling plays that he later admitted he had never run before as the one-time third string quarterback. I will assume that Cook plays and will update if that changes. The reality is that it would not change much anyway.

Carr passed for 295 yards and three scores in Week 11.

RUNNING BACK : The Raiders backfield has become a guessing game lately with Latavius Murray being the primary back with all the goal line work to only getting five carries for 11 yards last week even though he had 20 carries for 114 yards and three touchdowns against the very same team seven weeks prior. DeAndre Washington suddenly gained 99 yards on 12 carries and scored twice on the Colts but they was back to only seven carries for 43 yards last week. Jalen Richard is locked into six carries per week lately. Since even HC Jack Del Rio was not certain why Murray was dialed back so much last week, there is no certainty to what will happen in this game.

Another reality is that without Carr there, the defenses will load up against the run. The Raiders only combined for 18 rushes last week. They ran 29 times in the previous meeting with the same Broncos. The Raiders only rushed 16 times for 35 yards in the first meeting with the Texans.

WIDE RECEIVER : Amari Cooper caught four passes for 57 yards and one score in Week 11 and he's been stuck at lower yard efforts in every game since. Cooper hasn't topped 40 yards over his last three road games and last week caught four passes for 39 yards and the lone passing score from Connor Cook. Michael Crabtree was held to only three catches for five yards in Week 11 and was limited to only 47 yards on five receptions last week. Seth Roberts was held to just one catch against the Texans and hasn't broken 31 yards in any successive game.

TIGHT END : No fantasy value.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Derek Carr threw for 295 yards in Week 11 but 109 yards came on passes to Jalen Richard and Latavius Murray and both only were thrown one completion last week with Cook under center. The Raiders will seek to establish the run as much as possible and while it is the weaker part of the defense, that is only relative.

The Texans have only allowed seven passing scores in Houston this year and never more than 268 yards. This will be a down game for Cooks, or for McGloin if he ends up playing. If there is one passing touchdown, that will be success enough. I will award it to Cooper since he scored in Week 11 and last Sunday with Cook but the confidence is very low.

The Raiders ran well enough in Week 11 but that was in Oakland and with Carr as the quarterback. There is much risk in all of these players with the quarterback situation, venue and opponent. The last five visitors to Houston never rushed in a touchdown.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 18 4 7 28 13 15
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 3 12 4 3 13 18

Houston Texans

1 CHI 23-14 10 @JAC 24-21
2 KC 19-12 11 @OAK 20-27
3 @NE 0-27 12 SD 13-21
4 TEN 27-20 13 @GB 13-21
5 @MIN 13-31 14 @IND 22-17
6 IND 26-23 15 JAC 21-20
7 @DEN 9-27 16 CIN 12-10
8 DET 20-13 17 @TEN 17-24
9 BYE ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
HOU vs OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Savage
QB Brock Osweiler 20,1 240
RB Lamar Miller 110,1 2-10
WR Will Fuller 2-30
WR DeAndre Hopkins 4-70
WR Braxton Miller 3-50
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz 5-60
PK Nick Novak 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Texans won their division with a 9-7 record even though they lost last week to the Titans who were also 9-7 but who lost out on tie breakers. The Texans are only 3-4 over the last seven games and was afforded a huge break when the Raiders lost Derek Carr. The good news is that Lamar Miller is expected back and that will help cover for the problems passing the ball.

QUARTERBACK : Tom Savage suffered a concussion last week and is likely to miss this. That means back to Brock Osweiler who passed for 243 yards and one score with one interception in Oakland earlier this season. The Texans had given the reins to Savage for two weeks before he was injured.

RUNNING BACK : Lamar Miller rushed for 104 yards and one score in Oakland but has been out for two weeks with a sprained ankle. That was one of his best efforts of the year and he has been only marginally involved as a receiver. But when he is back, he is getting nearly every running back touch.

WIDE RECEIVER : DeAndre Hopkins comes off an actual 100 yard game - his first since Week 2. But Hopkins was limited to only 58 yards on five catches in Oakland and spent the entire season bouncing between 40 and 70 yards with only two scores since Week 5. Braxton Miller caught five passes for 25 yards and his first (and last) NFL touchdown in Week 11. Will Fuller only snagged one pass in the last meeting with the Raiders but he's been limited to marginal yardage every week.

TIGHT END : C.J. Fiedorowicz caught a season best six passes for 82 yards in Oakland this year. He scored just last week in Tennessee but has only four touchdowns on the season.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Back at home is better for the Texans and having to rely again on Osweiler means more of the same. Hopkins is not reliable for more than moderate yardage and he already had about 60 yards in the first meeting. He cannot be expected to score.

Lamar Miller is the best fantasy play here with 104 yards and a score in the first meeting. It favors him more with the Texans more likely to struggle on offense and allow the Texans better field position and more opportunities to run the ball. All others besides Miller are a risk.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 31 27 30 6 9 23
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 27 22 13 24 5 2
WILDCARD WEEK DET at SEA (SAT-8:15 PM ET) MIA at PIT (SUN-1:05 PM ET)
UPDATED NYG at GB (SUN-4:40 PM ET) OAK at HOU (SAT 4:35 PM ET)

Sign up for free email updates

Our FREE email updates are packed with the player news and fantasy analysis you need! Always fresh, no spam, guaranteed!