The Houston Texans could help their cause for a playoff run with a win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. The Texans are playing good football and are relying on a much improved defense to help seal their victories. The Texans are playing a run happy Raiders offense with one of the top running backs in the NFL in Darren McFadden. This will be a much more improved Raiders teams from previous teams the Texans have faced.
There are six players who are in need of a good game to help the Texans get their 4th win of the season.
Matt Schaub- Schaub has to be the key to the Texans offensive success over the time period Andre Johnson is not in uniform. He is going to have to get out of his comfort zone, in looking for Johnson as his safety net. There is not better time for Schaub to prove he belongs as top quarterback in this league.
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Kevin Walter- The veteran of the Texans receivers is going to have to take the role of the #1 receiver for the time being. The last time Johnson missed significant time was in 2008, Walter took the opportunity to have his best season as a pro, 60 catches 899 yards and 8 touchdowns. It would be nice to recover some of that magic from 3 years ago.
Jacoby Jones- When Johnson was shut down for the end of the 2010 season, Jones had 22 catches in his last four games of the season and proved he could play at a high level. Jones is going to be needed to provide game changing ability and is worth his new contract he just signed at the beginning of the 2011 season. Jones will have to take pressure of Schaub and prove he can be a reliable target.
Owen Daniels-Daniels will probably benefit the most with Johnson being on the shelf. Daniels has shown some flashes of pre ACL injury self in the last two weeks. He and Schaub prove to be a dynamic duo when they are on the same page, and Daniels did a great job of picking up the slack last Sunday against the Steelers. He will probably be the primary target for Schaub and the Texans passing game.
DeMeco Ryans- He has quietly been working himself into playing shape, and will have his work cut out on Sunday facing Raiders running back, Darren McFadden. Ryans will have to be physical and do what has made his successful in the past, play sideline to sideline. This will be a good test to see if Ryans is back to his high level of play.
Brian Cushing- The most active defender in the middle for the Texans, Cushing will have to help Ryans control Darren McFadden. Cushing has been a force the first four weeks of the season and leads the team with 28 total tackles, expect that total to go up this week against the number one rushing offense in the NFL.