Texans by 7
Raiders 3-6, Texans 2-7
Ch. 13 (Kevin Harlan, play-by-play; Solomon Wilcots, color), 1140
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Raiders quarterback Matt McGloin vs. Texans defensive end J.J. Watt
McGloin, an undrafted rookie from Penn State, will make his first NFL start against one of the best defenses, anchored by Watt. The Texans allow280 yards per game, including 166.6 through the air, both lowest in the NFL. They also have 21 sacks, 6.5 by Watt. How McGloin handles the pressure – physically and mentally – likely will determine the outcome.
THREE KEYS TO GAME
• The Texans, who have lost seven games in a row, will be pumped up for the return of coach Gary Kubiak, who is back after suffering a mini-stroke at halftime of Houston’s loss to Indianapolis on Nov. 3. Said Texans quarterback Case Keenum earlier in the week: “His leadership is, I think, huge for this team.”
• With quarterback Terrelle Pryor and running back Darren McFadden out, the Raiders will be without their top two leaders in rushing yards. But with the Texans so tough against the pass and McGloin starting for the first time, look for the Raiders to give the ball at least 20 times to Rashad Jennings, who rushed for a combined 190 yards in the last two games.
• The Raiders’ secondary – without rookie D.J. Hayden again – will need to keep Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson in check. Johnson is third in catches, fourth in receiving yards and sixth in touchdowns. The Eagles’ DeSean Jackson had 150 yards against the Raiders two weeks ago, but the Giants’ Victor Cruz was held to three catches for 37 yards.
S Tyvon Branch (ankle), WR Juron Criner (shoulder), CB D.J. Hayden (groin), RB Darren McFadden (hamstring)
LB Kaluka Maiava (ribs), T Matt McCants (toe), QB Terrelle Pryor (knee)
K Sebastian Janikowski (ribs), T Tony Pashos (hip/illness)
TE Ryan Griffin (concussion), CB Elbert Mack (hamstring/groin)
CB Kareem Jackson (chest), P Shane Lechler (illness), LB Joe Mays (knee/abdomen), LB Mike Mohamed (hamstring)
G Brandon Brooks (toe/knee), T Andrew Gardner (knee), G/C Ben Jones (chest), S Shiloh Keo (Achilles’/hamstring), WR Keshawn Martin (shoulder), CB Brice McCain (hip), T Derek Newton (knee/elbow), WR DeVier Posey (hip), LB Darryl Sharpton (foot/toe), G Wade Smith (knee), RB Ben Tate (ribs), DE J.J. Watt (elbow)
– Tom Couzens