Oakland Raiders Week 8 X-Factors against the Houston Texans
By Matt Holder
Possibly the biggest surprise of Oakland’s season is the play of Benson Mayowa. The edge rusher leads the team in sacks (4.5) and quarterback hits (4), despite never being in the starting lineup. Pass rush has been and is an issue for the Raiders, and so far the NFL journeyman is the team’s best solution.
A common theme with teams that have great players at skill positions, is the offensive line leaves something to be desired, and Houston is a perfect example of this theme. The Texans have surrendered 21 sacks, eighth-most in the league, and Football Outsiders ranks the team’s big uglies 24th overall.
Also, linemen Tytus Howard, Greg Mancz and Roderick Johnson are listed on the injury report, so Houston’s offensive line is a banged-up unit as well.
Getting after the quarterback is not one of the Silver and Black’s strong suits, but that has to change this week. More time in the pocket for quarterback Deshaun Watson means more time for wide receivers like DeAndre Hopkins and Kenny Stills to get open. Those two don’t need any help and Mayowa might just be Oakland’s best solution to the problem.