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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
* updated

Prediction: HOU 24, OAK 20

Update: The weather is calling for a chance of rain but it will be warm and no wind.

Ronald Curry continues to be doubtful because of his toe and will likely miss this week.

The newly resurgent Texans have won their last four games and now take their 2-5 road record into Oakland where the Raiders are only 1-6 and on their own three game losing streak. The Texans are looking to end the year in a respectable manner with something to look forward to in 2009. The Raiders are looking to end the year and start looking for new jobs or at least wonder what the team will be like in six months.

Houston Texans (7-7)
Homefield: Reliant Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @PIT 17-38 +6.5 43
2 BYE - - -
3 @TEN 12-31 +5 38.5
4 @JAX 27-30 +7.5 42
5 IND 27-31 +3 47.5
6 MIA 29-28 -3 45
7 DET 28-21 -9 48
8 CIN 35-6 -10 44-
9 @MIN 21-28 +4.5 47
10 BAL 13-41 -1.5 41.5
11 @IND 27-33 +9 50
12 @CLE 16-6 +3 50
13 JAX 30-17 -3 48
14 @GB 24-21 +3 43
15 TEN 13-12 +3.5 44
16 @OAK - -7 44
17 CHI - - -
HOU @ OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Schaub     220,2
RB Steve Slaton 100,1 30  
TE Owen Daniels   20  
WR Andre Johnson   50,1  
WR David Anderson   20  
WR Kevin Walter   70,1  
PK Kris Brown 1 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Texans have grown to better than their 7-7 record suggests and if they could win their final two games it would give them their first ever winning season in franchise history and they finished 8-8 in 2007. The main problem is that the team needed half the year to decide on a starting running back and once again, Matt Schaub battled injuries. Don't forget, this franchise started out 0-4. Progress has been made.

Quarterback: A healthy Matt Schaub has been a big benefit to the offense and he has five of his eight starts with 280 passing yards or more. He has thrown for 13 touchdowns which is light but had multiple scores in four games. More than anything, he allowed the offense to run better and Andre Johnson has taken his place among the elite receivers in the league.

Running Backs: Steve Slaton refuses to read the memo about how rookie runners fade later in the season. He has topped 100 rushing yards in four of the last five games and scored nine times this year. He's adept as a receiver and has taken over the full load - no sharing. He is very reminiscent of Dominick Davis and hopefully has a longer career.

Wide Receivers: Andre Johnson has quickly become one of the most feared wideouts in the league. He currently leads the NFL with 1408 receiving yards and already has 103 receptions to rank #1 in that category as well. His only lagging is with scoring since he has just six touchdowns this year but he had one each in the last three games. His 207 yard effort against the Titans as a career high.

Kevin Walter has quietly reaped the benefits of not being Johnson and has scored eight times while turning in around 70 yards in most games. The slot receivers matter little in this scheme because the two starters are so productive.

Tight Ends: Owen Daniels chugs along with around 30 to 40 yards in most weeks but he has only scored in one game - Detroit - and the success of the wideouts, particularly Walter, has left him unneeded in most games.

Match Against the Defense: Feel very good about starting Slaton this week since literally every single opponent to visit Oakland has rushed in at least one score. Seven different runners have gained over 90 yards there. Nice spot for Slaton.

The Raiders pass defense is not nearly as good as some believe and Matt Cassel hit them for four scores last week in the rain, Expect a decent to good game here from Schaub and while Asomugha will no doubt be tasked with Andre Johnson, he couldn't stop Randy Moss from scoring twice last week. Expect a couple of passing scores that should favor Walter since the six wideouts that scored in OAK had the #2 guy with the touchdown. I still like Johnson to score though the yardage for them will be lower than usual,

Gaining Fantasy Points HOU 6 16 3 14 15 22
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 19 29 12 12 13 19

Oakland Raiders (3-11)
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DEN 14-41 +3 41.5
2 @KC 23-8 +4 34.5
3 @BUF 23-24 +9.5 36.5
4 SD 18-28 +7 46
5 BYE - - -
6 @NO 3-34 +7.5 47.5
7 NYJ 16-13 +3 42.5
8 @BAL 10-29 +7 36
9 ATL 0-24 +3 41
10 CAR 6-17 +9 38
11 @MIA 15-17


12 @DEN 31-10 +9.5 42.5
13 KC 13-20 -3 41.5
14 @SD 7-34 +10 43
15 NE 26-49 +7 40
16 HOU - +7 44
17 @TB - - -
OAK vs HOU Rush Catch Pass
QB JaMarcus Russell     140
RB Darren McFadden 60,1 30  
RB Justin Fargas 50 10  
TE Zach Miller   50  
WR Chaz Schilens   20  
WR Ronald Curry 30
PK Sebastian Janikowski 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Raiders are playing out yet another bad year and little progress has been made other than knowing much of the coaching staff will be different in 2009, there will be overpriced free agents and a high draft pick to burn so that by the end of the year we can all agree that once again nothing really changed. Interim HC Tm Cable is very interested in staying on but many on the staff are already fleeing to Tennessee where Lane Kiffen is setting up shop. Just another year into the black hole of Al Davis.

Quarterback: Jamarcus Russell comes off his career best game when he passed for 242 yards and two scores against the Patriots. Of course he only had 68 yards in the previous game. And then 132 before that. He has thrown for as many as 277 yards in a game and as few as just 31. He only has nine passing touchdowns and seven interceptions. Given the very wide disparity in how he plays, it suggest that play calling is as much to blame - and a lack of any decent wide receivers.

Running Backs: It is question worth pondering. Is it more surprising that Justin Fargas has made it intact through an entire season or that he did so little along the way every week? Fargas only has one touchdown after 190 carries and just one game over 100 yards. He plays, he gets around 40 rushing yards in most weeks and doesn't score or even break off a long gainer since speed has been his trademark.

Darren McFadden was thought to be almost done for the year when he only had three touches in week 14 but against the Patriots he ran for 46 yards on 12 carries with a touchdown and added a season high 68 yards on three catches. McFadden has four scores on the year but has to write off his rookie year as a wasted opportunity with a toe that would never heal.

Wide Receivers: A sad group indeed. Javon Walker has gone to injured reserve and Ronald Curry has a turf toe. Most of these wideouts rarely have a catch in a game and last week had Curry and Johnnie Lee Higgins both score in a surreal, never to be repeated event this year. There have only been seven scores by a wideout this year. Perhaps next season Russell will develop more but no wideout here has any fantasy merit or consideration.

Tight Ends: Not so for Zach Miller who has been the sole positive in the passing game and that has been the outlet for Russell the entire year. Miller has only scored once but his 50 catches for 674 yards dwarfs all other receivers.

Match Against the Defense: The Raiders are always hard to gauge because you can never be sure which ones you will get. If McFadden is healthy as he was last week and used enough, he could have a decent game here against one of the softer rushing defenses in the league. But McFadden appears and disappears more than a magicians rabbit. Consider a decent chance that the rushing game here comes to life and scores but it will always be a risk this year.

There could be a passing score but the Raiders are so hot and cold that you could never rely on it this year. I'll consider it a special teams or defense score instead.

Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 32 24 32 17 30 13
Preventing Fantasy Points HOU 22 25 15 20 17 25

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