Tuesday, October 4, 2011

JZN NFL Predictions vs. Spread: Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans (Week 5, 2011-12)

The Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders meet again. The Texans won the regular-season meeting in 2010 with a 31-24 victory. Arian Foster ran wild. Darren McFadden? Not so much. Can the Raiders pull off their own road upset?

The early spread on this game is Texans (-6). Here are some of the key aspects of the game and what to watch out for when betting. All lines from Cooper's Pick and Injury Reports from CBS Sports as of October 4, 2011. Always keep yourself updated with injury lines because they’ll unexpectedly change throughout the week.
Current Personal Picks Record (Straights Only)
Oakland Raiders 3-1
Houston Texans 2-2

Key Injuries
DB Kareem Jackson, WR Andre Johnson (Out), RB Ben Tate, RB Derrick Ward, RB Michael Bush, DB Michael Huff, DB Chris Johnson, LB Ricky Brown

Keys to the Game
  • Darren McFadden vs. Houston Texans’ Run Defense
  • How will Andre Johnson’s injury hurt the Texans?
  • Can the Raiders contain Arian Foster?
  • Can the Raiders overcome penalties?
  • Will this game be similar to their 2010 regular-season meeting?
  • How much of a difference will the 3-4 defense make?

The Houston Texans pulled off a 31-24 victory over the Oakland Raiders in 2010 (at Oakland). The Texans had a 31-14 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Raiders scored 10 unanswered points but fell short in their comeback quest. The Texans rushed for 249 yards in that meeting. Darren McFadden was a bit off as he had 12 carries for 47 yards. The Raiders had 25 carries for 118 yards as a team.

Both teams have been suspect against the run. The Texans are surrendering 4.9 yards per attempt. However, the Raiders are allowing a NFL-worst 5.9 yards per carry. That’s not good when they’re facing a balanced offense with Arian Foster.

But how am I supposed to give the Raiders a chance when they’re averaging 10 penalties per game? You can’t consistently win on the road like this. They have 52 more penalty yards and four more penalties than the second worst teams in those departments. They really need to eliminate these penalties that have plagued them for years now.

I don’t look much into Johnson’s injury. He wasn’t available last year, neither. Here’s another thing to consider: Despite the Raiders great run offense, they weren’t able to take advantage of poor run defenses from the Buffalo Bills (4.9) and New England Patriots (4.8).

The biggest worry I'd have is if Foster got injured during this game. They're already down two running backs. That would strangle their offense if he were re-injured.

Final Predictions:
Against the Spread: Houston Texans (-6)
Straight:  Houston Texans 34, Oakland Raiders 17

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