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Game Preview

Raiders at Texans
Jan. 7
1:35 p.m. (Pacific)
TV: ABC, ESPN



THE SKINNY:
The Raiders (12-4) play their first postseason game since 2002 when they face the host Texans (9-7) in the wild-card opener at NRG Stadium. The AFC South champion Texans are 7-1 in home games this season while the Raiders are 6-2 in road contests. Houston has dropped three of its past four playoff games since 2011.

LAST WEEK:
The visiting Raiders lost 24-6 to the Denver Broncos; the Texans lost 24-17 to the host Tennessee Titans

KEY MATCHUPS:
QB Connor Cook vs. Texans pass defense — Cook is expected to make his first NFL start because Matt McGloin is not expected to play because of a shoulder injury. Cook completed 14 of 21 passes for 150 yards and a TD but also had an interception and lost a fumble in relief of McGloin, who was injured late in the first half against Denver on Jan. 1. The Texans finished second against the pass, allowing 201.6 yards per game.

QB Brock Osweiler vs. Raiders pass defense — Osweiler threw for 2,957 yards and 15 TDs with 16 interceptions during the regular season. The Raiders finished 24th against the pass, allowing 257.4 yards per game.

LT Menelik Watson vs. RDE Christian Covington — The Raiders' Watson will switch from right tackle to left tackle because starter Donald Penn has been ruled out after he suffered knee injury against Denver in Week 17. Penn, who has played in 160 straight games, did not practice this week. Austin Howard will start at right tackle for Oakland.

Raiders RBs vs. Texans defense — Raiders running backs combined for 11 catches for 199 yards and two TDs against the Texans on Nov. 21. Oakland also had only 30 rushing yards on 20 carries in the same game. The Raiders ran for only 57 yards in a loss to Denver in Week 17. The Texans finished 12th against the run, allowing 99.7 yards per game.

DE Khalil Mack vs. Texans O-line — Mack has not had a sack in three straight games after having a sack in eighth straight games. The Texans allowed 32 sacks during the regular season, tied for 11th fewest.

WRs Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree vs. Texans secondary — Cooper and Crabtree became the first Raiders duo to reach 1,000 receiving yards each in a season in 2016 since Hall of Famers Tim Brown and Jerry Rice accomplished the feat in 2001. Texans safety Quintin Demps is tied for second in the NFL with six interceptions.

RB Lamar Miller vs. Raiders run defense — Miller ranked sixth in the AFC with 1,073 rush yards. Oakland finished 23rd against the run, allowing 117.6 yards per game.

STATS OF THE WEEK:
Houston's Brock Osweiler is 0-2 in career starts against Oakland but the former Bronco is 6-1 in home starts with the Texans this season.


The Raiders surrendered a league-low 18 sacks during the 2016 regular season.
The Raiders have not recorded a sack the past two games.
The Raiders' Amari Cooper is one of three players in NFL history with 70 or more catches, 1,000 or more receiving yards and five or more TD catches in each of his first two seasons. He ranked third this season in the AFC with 1,153 receiving yards, the most by a Raider since Jerry Rice had 1,211 in 2002.

LAST MEETING:
Derek Carr throws for three touchdowns and 295 yards to lead the Raiders to a 27-20 win over the Texans at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Mexico on Nov. 21, 2016.

RIVALRY REWIND:
Playing a day after Raiders managing general partner Al Davis dies, visiting Oakland rallies for an emotional 25-20 victory over the Texans at Reliant Stadium on Oct. 9, 2011. With seven seconds left and Houston at the Oakland 5-yard line, safety Michael Huff intercepts Matt Schaub's second-down pass intended for Jacoby Jones as the Raiders hold on for their first road win against the Texans in three tries.

RECENT HISTORY:
The Raiders have won three of the past four games after the Texans took five of the previous six. The Raiders are 2-2 against the Texans at NRG Stadium, previously named Reliant Stadium. The Texans lead the series 6-4.

DID YOU KNOW?:
Texans punter Shane Lechler spent 13 seasons with the Raiders from 2000 to 2012. The former 2000 fifth-round draft choice holds Raiders franchise records for most career punts inside the 20 (322), highest career gross average (47.5) and longest punt (80).


Running back Lativius Murray ranked fifth in the NFL with 12 rushing TDs this season, the most by a Raider since 1990 when Marcus Allen had a dozen rushing scores.
The Texans franchise began play in the 2002 season. They are 106-134-0 in regular-season play and 2-3 in playoff games (2011, 2012, 2015).

OPENING LINE:
Texans by 3.5

Updated: 1-6-2017

For more on this week's game:
Raiders.com | Texans.com
NFL.com

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