The Oakland Raiders (12-4) will begin their postseason run in the Wild Card Playoff this weekend against the Houston Texans (9-7) on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017 at 1:35 p.m. PT at NRG Stadium. Saturday's game will mark the 44th all-time postseason game for the Silver and Black, who carry a 25-18 all-time mark (21 trips to the playoffs) into the game. The two teams will meet for the second time this season, as the Raiders defeated the Texans, 27-20, on Nov. 21 in Mexico City.
Here is the Game Preview, presented by 95.7 The Game.
Date:Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017Kickoff:1:35 p.m. PTSite:NRG Stadium (2002)Capacity/Surface:71,795/Synthetic TurfRegular Season:Texans lead, 6-4
The Raiders closed out the 2016 regular season with their first 12-win season since 2000. Head Coach Jack Del Rio directed a team that finished second in the AFC West and had seven players selected to the Pro Bowl. The team tied for the NFL lead with a 16 turnover differential and finished 11th in the NFL with a 31 point differential.
On offense, the unit finished sixth in the NFL in yards per game (373.3), sixth in rushing yards per game (120.1) and seventh in points per game (26.0). The team committed just 14 turnovers on the year, good for fourth fewest in the NFL. The offensive line was the best in the league at protecting the quarterback in 2016, allowing just 18 sacks on the year. QB Derek Carr, WR Amari Cooper, C Rodney Hudson, G/T Kelechi Osemele and T Donald Penn were all named to the Pro Bowl.
The defense strengthened as the season progressed, as the unit ranked 11th in the NFL in total yards allowed per game from Week 7 to the end of the year. The team also ranked second in the NFL in takeaways, forcing 30 turnovers on the year. Defensive Player of the Year candidate DE Khalil Mack earned his second consecutive Pro Bowl selection and newcomer S Reggie Nelson also received a Pro Bowl nod.
P Marquette King and K Sebastian Janikowski turned in solid campaigns on special teams, with King placing 34 punts inside opponents' 20-yard line and Janikowski leading the team with 124 points.
RAIDERS IN THE POSTSEASON
On Saturday, the Raiders will play in their first postseason game since Jan. 26, 2003, when they played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII. The Raiders bring a 25-18 all-time postseason record into the contest, including three Super Bowl titles (Super Bowls XI, XV and XVIII). Against AFC playoff teams, the Raiders are 1-2 vs. New England, 1-2 vs. Kansas City, 3-3 vs. Pittsburgh and 3-1 vs. Miami in postseason play. The Texans are the only AFC playoff team that the Raiders have not faced in the postseason.
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Overview: Head Coach Bill O'Brien finished his third regular season with the Houston Texans in 2016, leading the team to their third consecutive 9-7 season and earning back-to-back AFC South titles. The Texans' division title assured them a home game against the Raiders. Both teams enter the Wild Card Playoff following a Week 17 loss to their respective opponents.
Offense: QB Brock Osweiler joined Houston as a free agent during last offseason and took on the starting role to begin the 2016 regular season. In 15 games played and 14 starts, Osweiler threw for 2,957 yards and tossed 15 touchdowns to 16 interceptions. The Texans recently turned to third-year QB Tom Savage, who has not thrown an interception in his three games played and helped clinch the team's AFC South division title in his first start of the year, a Week 16 victory over the Bengals. WR DeAndre Hopkins led the team in 2016 with 78 receptions for 954 yards and tied for the team lead in touchdown receptions (four). Their lead back, RB Lamar Miller, paced the rushing attack and earned his second career 1,000-yard season on the ground while adding five scores.
Defense: Even with the absence of the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year DE J.J. Watt, the unit finished as the number one ranked defense in the NFL, allowing just 301.3 yards per game. In just 13 games played, S Quintin Demps set a new career high and led the team with six takeaways in 2016. Pressuring passers are LB Whitney Mercilus and DE Jadeveon Clowney, who finished first and second on the team with 7.5 and six sacks, respectively. Their team leader in tackles during the regular season was LB Benardrick McKinney, whose 129 total stops (70 solo) were good for 11th most in the NFL.
An exclusive look at the past matchups between the Oakland Raiders and Houston Texans.
• Texans P Shane Lechler was a fifth-round draft pick by the Raiders in 2000, appearing in 206 games from 2000-2012. In his 13 years with the Raiders, Lecher recorded 1,014 punts for 48,215 yards.
• Originally selected by the Raiders in the third round (95th overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft, Texans C Tony Bergstrom played four years in Oakland, appearing in 25 games with four starts.
• Texans DE Antonio Smith spent the 2014 season with the Raiders, starting all 16 games and recording 18 tackles with three sacks.
• Raiders defensive line coach Jethro Franklin held the same position with the Houston Texans for two seasons from 2007-08.
• Raiders special teams coordinator Brad Seely worked with Texans Head Coach Bill O'Brien with the New England Patriots for two years where Seely held the same role and O'Brien started as an offensive assistant in 2007 before being promoted to wide receivers in 2008. Seely also worked with defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel in New England from 2001-04.
• Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel (defensive coordinator/Head Coach) worked with Raiders running backs coach Bernie Parmalee (tight ends) with the Kansas City Chiefs from 2010-12.
• Raiders QB Matt McGloin and Texans Head Coach Bill O'Brien spent one season together during McGloin's senior year (2012) at Penn State. Under O'Brien, McGloin set nine school records and paced the offense to a Big 10-leading 437.0 yards per game.
• Texans offensive line coach Mike Devlin played four seasons with Raiders wide receivers coach Rob Moore with the Arizona Cardinals from 1996-99.
• Texans offensive coordinator George Godsey worked with Raiders RB Latavius Murray at UCF from 2009-2010 as the Knights running backs coach. Murray also played four years with Texans CB A.J. Bouye at UCF from 2009-2012.
• Texans ILB Brian Cushing was coached by Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. (linebackers) during his four seasons (2005- 08) at USC. Cushing also worked with Raiders defensive assistant Sam Anno and Raiders defensive line coach Jethro Franklin and was teammates with Raiders LB Malcolm Smith during his time at USC.
• Texans TE Stephen Anderson played four seasons (2012-15) at Cal after redshirting in 2011.
• Texans OLB Brennan Scarlett spent his college career in the Bay Area, playing at Cal from 2011-2014 before transferring to Stanford for his senior year in 2015.
• Texans RB Tyler Ervin played four seasons (2011-12, 14-15) at San Jose State, appearing in 47 games with 24 starts for the Spartans.
• Raiders have four players on the roster who played collegiately in Texas: WR Michael Crabtree (Texas Tech), DL Branden Jackson (Texas Tech), FB/RB Jamize Olawale (North Texas) and RB DeAndré Washington (Texas Tech). QB Derek Carr (Clements High School in Sugarland, Texas) and LB Cory James (Del Rio High School) both played high school football in Texas.
• Raiders G/T Kelechi Osemele is a native of Houston, Texas where he attended Langham Creek High School, earning 5A Region III AllDistrict XVII honors as a senior at right tackle.
• Raiders assistant special teams coach Tracy Smith is a native of Beaumont, Texas. • Texans TE Stephen Anderson is a native of San Jose, Calif., where he recorded 83 catches for 1,340 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior in 2010 at Piedmont Hills High School.