On paper the Houston Texans could be the most difficult test for the struggling Raiders’ defense. After seeing Wes Welker and a subpar running game explode to life on Sunday there is no reason to think the Texans won’t experience similar success.
While Welker is a route running demon with an ESP-like connection to Tom Brady, All-Pro Andre Johnson is a beast that is as much a threat underneath as he is down field. However as of now Johnson is a question mark after suffering a non-contact injury. Of course we’ve been here before with Johnson and the Texans.
Just over a year ago we went through a similar song and dance with Johnson who eventually sat out the Texans’ 31-24 win over the Raiders. Even without their top target Houston used the legs of Arian Foster and Derrick Ward to run all over Oakland.
So what is going to make the 2011 version of this burgeoning rivalry any different?
Matt Schaub still tossed 2 TDs last time around as Foster and Ward rolled for over 200 combined yards and 2 TDs.
You could argue that this Oakland offense is even more explosive than last year’s version.
Last time around Bruce Gradkowski threw for just under 300 yards and 2 TDs. His favorite target that day was Zach Miller who has since vanished in the city of Seattle.
Given the way the Raiders have been unable to stop most everybody from scoring it would stand to reason that getting into another shootout is a recipe for falling to 2-3 on the young season. At some point the defense has got to make plays. But as the saying goes the best defense is a good offense.
In order for Oakland to keep Foster from fantasy dominance they’ll have to do what the do best – run the rock.
There is nothing that indicates the defense will right the ship this season. With injuries mounting and more question marks arising all the onuses is on the offense. That’s the theme of the week and will likely be the theme of the season. Darren McFadden and Michael Bush will be expected to run the silver and black back to winning ways.
Even without Johnson the Texans have proven they can beat the Raiders. If history is an indicator then the Raiders have some serious work to do this week.