NFL Monday Night Football From Mexico: Houston Texans vs Oakland Raiders

Houston Texans vs Oakland Raiders
Monday, November 21, 2016, 8:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Estadio Azteca – Mexico City, Mexico
Opening Line: Oakland -5 1/2
Current Line: Oakland -6 (-105)
Opening Total: 46 1/2
Current Total: 45
Opening Money Line: Raiders -260 / Texans +210
Current Money Line: Raiders -265 / Texans +215

The Raiders and Texans meet in a key AFC contest from Mexico City.
The Raiders and Texans meet in a key AFC contest from Mexico City.

For the second time ever the NFL will stage a regular season game at the famed Estadio Azteca in Mexico City as the 7-2 Oakland Raiders take on the 6-3 Houston Texans Monday night. Both teams lead their respective divisions in the AFC. Oakland is a half game ahead of the 7-3 Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos in the AFC West. Houston leads the AFC South over the 5-5 Indianapolis Colts.

Houston leads the series 6-3 against Oakland. The Texans won the last meeting 30-14 in Oakland in 2014 to snap a two game losing streak in the series.

Houston is coached by Bill O’Brien. The Texans have home wins over the Chicago Bears 23-14, Kansas City Chiefs 19-12, Tennessee Titans 27-20, Indianapolis Colts 26-23 in overtime and Detroit Lions 20-13, and a road win at the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-21 last week. Houston has road losses at the New England Patriots 27-0, Minnesota Vikings 31-13 and Denver Broncos 27-9. The Texans  were 3 point underdogs against the Jaguars and the total was 42. Houston is 5-3-1 ATS and the total is 4-5 this season.

Oakland is coached by Jack Del Rio. The Raiders have home losses to the Atlanta Falcons 35-28 and Kansas City Chiefs 26-10. Oakland has  home wins over the San Diego Chargers 34-31 and Denver Broncos 30-20 two weeks ago. The Raiders have road wins over the New Orleans Saints 35-34, Tennessee Titans 17-10, Baltimore Ravens 28-27, Jacksonville Jaguars 33-16 and Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-24 in overtime. Oakland was a 1 point favorite against  Denver and the total was 44.5. The Raiders are 6-3 ATS and the total is 7-2 this season.

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Houston is being outscored 21-18 this season. Houston is #29 in scoring. The Texans average 309 yards per game on offense including 187 passing and 121 rushing. The Texans are #30 in total offense and #31 in passing but #5 in rushing. Houston allows 317 yards per game on defense including 197 passing and 121 rushing yards. The Texans are #4 in total defense and are #3 in pass defense. The rush defense is #26 though.  Houston is 55/144 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 46/129. The Texans have forced 19 sacks and allowed 17 this season. Houston is -5 in turnovers.

Quarterback Brock Osweiler has completed 58.6% of his passes for 1,818 yards with 11 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, along with 19 carries for 70 yards.He has been way too inconsistent and there are some calls from Houston fans and media to bench him in favor of back-up Tom Savage.

Running back Lamar Miller has 168 carries for 720 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 22 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown. He is probable with an ankle injury.  Alfred Blue has 46 carries for 225 yards. He is out with a calf injury. Another running back Jonathan Grimes is questionable with an illness. Look for Akeem Hunt and/or Tyler Irvin to get the back-up carries.

Receiver DeAndre Hopkins has 45 catches for 482 yards and 3 touchdowns. Will Fuller has 25 catches for 372 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is questionable with a leg injury.  Tight end Ryan Griffin has 27 catches for 221 yards and a touchdowns. Tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz has 29 catches for 305 yards and 3 touchdowns. Jaelen Strong has 14 catches for 131 yards. He is out until mid December with an ankle injury.  Fifteen defensive players and four offensive linemen are listed on the injury report. Defensive end J.J. Watt is on injured reserve after undergoing back surgery.

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Oakland is outscoring teams 27-25 this season. The Raiders are #5 in scoring. Oakland averages 401 yards per game on offense including 273 passing yards and 128 rushing yards. The Raiders are #5 or better in all three categories. On defense, the Raiders allow 398 yards per game including 283 passing and 115 rushing yards per game. Oakland is #25 or worse in all three categories. The Raiders are 50/129 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 38/114. Oakland has forced 13 sacks and has allowed 11 this season. Oakland is +9 in turnovers.

Quarterback Derek Carr has completed 66.1% of his passes for 2,505 yards 17 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, plus 22 carries for 64 yards. He is an MVP candidate.

Running back Latavius Murray has 89 carries for 393 yards and 8 touchdowns, plus 18 catches for 103 yards. He is probable with an ankle injury. DeAndre Washington has 62 carries for 302 yards, plus 13 catches for 72 yards. Jalen Richard has 43 carries for 279 yards and a touchdown, plus 18 catches for 123 yards.

Receiver Amari Cooper has 58 catches for 843 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is probable with a back injury. Michael Crabtree has 49 catches for 596 yards and six touchdowns. Seth Roberts has 25 catches for 277 yards and 4 touchdowns. Tight end Clive Walford has 21 catches for 199 yards and a touchdown. Six defensive players are on the injury report.

Houston is 6-0 ATS in November, 3-0-1 after passing for less than 150 yards, 5-1-1 on grass, 5-1 after a bye week, 4-1 after allowing less than 90 rushing yards, 2-5 against teams with winning records, 3-12-1 after rushing for 150 yards or more, and 1-8 in Monday games.

Oakland is 4-0 ATS after a bye week, 4-1 against teams with winning records, and after gaining more than 350 total yards, 5-2 overall, 10-4 against AFC teams, 12-5 in week 11, 7-15-1 after allowing less than 90 rushing yards, 10-23-1 after a cover, 2-8-1 in Monday games, and 1-4 after rushing for more than 150 yards.

Although this is a neutral site game, it is listed as a home game for the Raiders. There are an estimated twenty million NFL fans in Mexico and most of them are Raiders or Cowboys fans. There is expected to be a sell out of over 100,000 people, but it could look like the Black Hole South or Agujero Negro if you will. The altitude is more than 2,000 feet higher than Denver so it will be a factor as will Mexico City’s notorious air pollution. Houston simply does not have the fire power to keep up with Oakland. I like the Raiders to win convincingly and remain undefeated outside of Oakland.

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