Texans Wide Receiver DeAndre Hopkins
When Saturday afternoon arrives, the talk, the media, and all the analysis won't matter. The blaring sound of the crowd will ring out through NRG Stadium, but all the players will be focused on is their opponent.
The Oakland Raiders hosted the Houston Texans earlier this season at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City for their primetime showdown on Monday Night Football, and while the Raiders 27-20 win was on a fairly big stage, the AFC Wild Card matchup this Saturday certainly holds more significance.
When the clock hits 00:00 a victor will be decided, except this time there won't be a rematch, its win or go home for both sides. Heading into the postseason clash, let's take a look at what the opponents are saying.
Texans Head Coach Bill O'Brien
O'Brien broke down what he saw out of Raiders quarterback Connor Cook prior to entering the draft.
"Very good player. Good size, good arm strength. Winner, won a ton of games, Big 10 Championship in college. We held him in high regard."
He praised the rookie signal-caller for battling through adversity against the Denver Broncos and doing what he could to help his team.
"Look, I think that Denver's defense is very difficult to go against, and I thought he held his own. I think that to go into that situation when you've been the number three guy all year, that's a tough, tough situation. I give him a lot of credit for stepping in there and making some plays and trying to help his team and standing in there. He took some shots, but tried to really help his team win the game."
The third-year Texans head coach shared what makes defensive end Khalil Mack such a special talent.
"There's many things that stand out. His athleticism, his toughness, his ability to pressure the quarterback, his ability to move around in the front. They move him around a lot. Just basically, he's the type of player that you have to know where he is on every snap."
Defensive End Jadeveon Clowney
The 2014 first overall pick discussed why the Raiders are a well-rounded group.
"They're an all-around team, man. Offensive line is good. You have key wide receivers that are Pro Bowl guys. Running backs, they have a great running back and a great quarterback. Defense is playing good. Everything was good about the team. I felt like they were a total team. You know a team either has an offense or a defense, they have both."
**Clowney said that even though Cook will be in at quarterback, the team will continue to prepare the same way.
"I think we prepare the same way. Do a little bit of adjustments and then containing him. We're going to try to disguise a lot more because he's a rookie. [We're] going to try to make him find the reads. We'll do a lot of disguising to get after him. That's the key."
Wide Receiver DeAndre Hopkins
Hopkins reflected on his previous game against the Raiders and if they did anything out of the ordinary.
"They did some different things, some things we haven't seen from them, and they did some things we've seen before. We came out and started out fast, the first play of the first drive wasn't a touchdown, but we still moved the ball up and down the field, and completed most of our third downs."
Wide Receiver Will Fuller
Fuller shared that the Raiders size in the secondary stood out to him the first time they played.
"They've got some big cornerbacks, I think one of their cornerbacks is about 6'3". I played him in the first game and they've just got some big cornerbacks."