The Oakland Raiders are not playing very consistent football, but they are fun to watch. New head coach Hue Jackson often has unique outlooks on life and football that he passes on to his players. He also passes on his unique views in post-game press conferences which make for some very interesting sound bites. The Raiders have been trying to live off of running back Darren McFadden and the running game for the first four weeks of the season and wound up finishing 2-2. That is not a bad start, but if the Raiders want to keep pace with the San Diego Chargers in the AFC West, then Oakland is going to need to develop its passing game and open up the field just a little more. Oakland quarterback Jason Campbell seems to be thriving under Jackson’s system, but it is taking time for the team to adjust.
The Houston Texans are in a battle with the Tennessee Titans for the lead in the AFC South. But the price per head football fans in Houston are all anxiously awaiting the results of an MRI on the hamstring of all-pro wide receiver Andre Johnson. A strained hamstring is a week or two off and then Johnson can contribute again. A torn hamstring will follow Johnson for the rest of his career. One thing is for sure, even if Johnson forces himself to play against the Raiders, he will not be nearly as effective as he normally is. That takes a lot of pressure off of the Oakland secondary, that is until Arian Foster and Ben Tate start running the ball.
The pay per head defense in Oakland is off to a rough start for the 2011-2012 season. The Buffalo Bills exploited the Oakland secondary for a win in week two, and Tom Brady and the New England Patriots shredded the Oakland secondary in week four. The loss of cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha is proving to be more formidable than Raiders fans had anticipated. The problem is that Oakland does not have a pass rush to compensate for the lack of a secondary. That will be a huge problem against the Texans who love to get running backs and tight ends into the opposing secondary.
The bet online difference between this year’s Houston Texans team and last year’s, aside from the improvements on defense, is the options available on offense. If Andre Johnson cannot play this game, then the Texans will play a two-back set with Foster and Tate along with getting the tight ends more involved in the long passing game. Once the Texans get past the Oakland linebackers, there is little to stop Houston from scoring.
The Bottom Line
NFL betting picks fans know that the Raiders are a scrappy bunch that never give up at any point in a game. But with Nnamdi Asomugha leaving a huge hole in the secondary and the Oakland pass rush being less than expected this season, Oakland is going to have a problem stopping Houston. The Texans have so many weapons on offense that it can handle the Raiders without Andre Johnson.
Pick: Houston Texans