It's week 11 and the Raiders travel to Houston to face the Texans. The Texans are one of the few teams in the league who have a worse record than the Raiders but they also have the top ranked defense in the NFL through ten weeks.
Where: Reliant Stadium, Houston TX
When: 10:00am Pacific Time, November 17, 2013
Radio: 95.7 The Game (Bay Area)
Online: NFL Game Rewind
Let's get caught up on last week
Last week the Raiders traveled to New York to face the Giants. They hung around and looked like they might pull out the win based on the performance of the defense and special teams which set up 17 of their 20 points. The key defensive play was a Tracy Porter interception returned for a touchdown which gave them a 17-14 lead at halftime. But a late interception by Terrelle Pryor that resulted in a touchdown did the Raiders in.
Rashad Jennings had a great game, with over 100 yards from scrimmage for the third time this season. Monday, Dennis Allen said Jennings has played well enough to earn more carries even if/when Darren McFadden returnsfrom his hamstring injury.
Pryor was clearly hobbled by a knee injury in the game and was among eight Raiders held out of practice on Wednesday. In his place was undrafted rookie Matt McGloin taking the first team reps.
The injury news wasn't all bad, however. Right tackle Tony Pashos returned from his hip injury and will start this Sunday. Left tackle Jared Veldheer practiced for the first time this season but has not yet been activated from partial season injured reserve.
Also in the good news department was Andre Gurode taking first team reps at left guard from Lucas Nix. This opens the possibility that Gurode could start this game. Sending Nix to the bench would be the best news this offensive line could receive.
Matt McGloin took all of the first team reps on Friday and the Raiders have signed Tyler Wilson to the active roster which means Terrelle Pryor will not play. McGloin will make the first start of his young career.
This game will therefore pit two undrafted quarterbacks against each other.
McGloin joined the Raiders this off-season as a tryout player and has worked his way up to being that starter, at least for this week. And if he can do better than Terrelle Pryor's 42 passer rating over the past four games, lead the team to a score, and take care of the ball, it might just earn him more than just one game.
The Texans have replaced Matt Schaub with 2012 undrafted quarterback, Case Keenum. He is a Texas native who played college ball at University of Houston is living the dream and playing inspired football for his hometown team.
Both the Raiders and the Texans will be without their starting running backs for this game. The Texans will be without starting running back Arian Foster. Ben Tate will replace him. The Raiders will start Rashad Jennings for a second straight game. The difference is the Raiders are much better off with Jennings on the field than McFadden. Tate has played well but he's no Arian Foster.
To get more insight into the team the Raiders will be facing this Sunday, check out my Five Good Questions with a blogger from Texans site, Battle Red Blog.
The last time the Raiders faced the Texans, was the day they had their emotional victory following the death of Al Davis. The heroes at the end of that game are no longer here. Darrius Heyward-Bey had 7 catches for 99 yards, Michael Huff had the game winning interception, and Tyvon Branch pressure Matt Schaub into throwing it. Huff and Heyward-Bey were both cut this off-season and Branch is out with an ankle injury.
Replacing them at safety is Charles Woodson and the combination of Brandian Ross and Usama Young.
The Raiders will also see their long time All Pro punter, Shane Lechler, for the first time since he signed with his hometown Texans as a free agent last off-season. He was hospitalized earlier this week with a flu but is expected to play.
Not getting a chance to face his hometown team is Raiders rookie cornerback, D.J. Hayden. The first round pick spent his college years at University of Houston with Texans' quarterback Case Keenum. Hayden is out with a groin injury. He is replaced in the lineup for the second straight week by Phillip Adams.
Hopefully, you feel well prepared to watch the Raiders and Texans face off today. Kickoff will be happening shortly.
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