It is very Oakland Raiders-esque to have finally made the playoffs after all this time, only to be without their star quarterback Derek Carr. You have to feel for their legions of loyal fans, but still they’ve got a shot as the Houston Texans haven’t shown much either – especially at the QB position. Oakland will be pinning their hopes to young, inexperienced rookie Connor Cook to try and lead them to the next round. Houston meanwhile has flip-flopped over the past few weeks with their quarterbacks. Tom Savage got hurt, so they’re back to the much-maligned Brock Osweiler. Osweiler was just atrocious in 2016, and his confidence is surely shattered. It will be very interesting to watch this QB match-up between two of these defensive juggernauts. While it may not be the most entertaining game, the Raiders are finally back in the post-season for the first time since 2003, and this should be intriguing to watch. Read on below for a full game breakdown and an official selection to kick off your post-season NFL betting.
Raiders vs. Texans Betting Odds:
Oakland Raiders +4 (-110)
@ Houston Texans -4 (-110)
Over 37 (-110)
Under 37 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Raiders vs. Texans Pick:
If Derek Carr was playing in this game, the Raiders would likely destroy a limping Houston Texans squad. Without McGloin now, and turning to Connor Cook, they enter as small underdogs, and it’ll be very interesting to see how the untested rookie handles the pressure of making an NFL Playoffs start. Cook was better than McGloin from what the duo showed last week, but he’s shown to have some troubles with turning over the football. You can’t do that against an opportunistic Texans’ defense. Making matters worse for the Raiders is the fact that one of their key O-Line guys, Donald Penn, hasn’t practiced all week. Penn would be a big loss as he’s a reliable blocker and would give protection to Connor Cook. The Texans have a great pass rush, and Cook will need time and space in the pocket if he is able to find his talented receivers downfield. Both Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper have advantages in their respective match-ups and if Cook is able to get comfortable, the Raiders do have the ability to score the football on Saturday.
Like their opponents, the Texans also have some pretty glaring quarterback concerns of their own on Saturday afternoon. Brock Osweiler is back to the starting position after Tom Savage got injured with a concussion. Osweiler has been awful this season, and any of the good things he showed in Denver last season, seemed to have vanished. With that, he seems like a QB lacking a lot of confidence at the moment – so it’ll be interesting to see which Osweiler shows up for Houston. Even though he did put up one solid game against Oakland earlier this season, the Raiders possess a ferocious defense, and pass rush, that should give Osweiler fits. Houston has nobody that can deal with Khalil Mack, who will be battling a back-up most likely, which doesn’t bode well for the Texans. Without much time and space, Osweiler will make errors and will likely struggle getting the ball to the hands of his playmakers downfield. The Texans will need to rely heavily on Lamar Miller to get positive yardage. Oakland hasn’t been that strong defending the run this season, so if Houston is to move the chains, it’ll likely need to come primarily via the ground game.
Even with all of the Raiders’ uncertainties and injuries, it is still hard to envision Oakland not being competitive in this game. Connor Cook will be following a rigid gameplan, and if he doesn’t blatantly lose the game for his team, I expect Oakland to be just fine. This spread as is, is just too high for me, and with a week of practice Cook should be fine. Expect the Raiders’ defense to give Osweiler fits, and Cook to do just enough to get the ball into the hands of his talented receivers for an outright victory on Saturday afternoon.
PICK = Raiders +4 (-110)