The Houston Texans and Las Vegas Raiders spent their bye weeks similarly.
The AFC’s only one-win teams have had more time to try to figure out why they watch the rest of the conference in the standings despite competing almost every week.
“I actually had a really good feeling watching the tape,” the Raiders’ star receiver said. Davante Adams said. “Obviously you look at the record and none of us are proud of that part. … But you even look at some of the power ratings and the fact that they have us where they have us after getting a win at this point shows there’s something we’re doing out there that people are noticing and just not finishing to the best of our abilities.
The Texans (1-3-1) have a similar complaint to the Raiders (1-4) ahead of Sunday’s meeting in Las Vegas as the two teams played four one-scored games with Houston earning the only win in those contests. The Texans beat Jacksonville 13-6 heading into the bye week.
Houston had already squandered a 17-point fourth-quarter lead in a Week 1 tie against Indianapolis, lost another fourth-quarter lead in a loss to Denver, lost on a Chicago field goal in Week 3 and was neck and neck with the Chargers in Week 4 until a late Los Angeles TD made it a 10-point loss.
“We had our moments … (but) I don’t like the way we finished games as much as anything,” Texans coach Lovie Smith said. “We had so many opportunities early on, but that’s also part of growing up, figuring out how to finish a game.”
The Raiders have been in similar positions. They had late comeback attempts that failed against the Chargers, Tennessee and Kansas City and blew a 20-point lead against Arizona in their other loss.
Their 0-4 record in one-score games comes a year after thriving in those situations, going 7-2 to earn a surprising playoff berth.
“We haven’t won as many games as we thought at this stage, that’s for sure,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “But it’s all in so many points. We know we’re close, and again, we’ve always said this – closeness doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter.
Texans love rookie running back’s performance Dameon Pierce so far and we expect him to do even more as he gains more experience.
Pierce ranks eighth in the NFL and first among rookies with 412 rushing yards. Florida’s fourth-round pick rushed for 99 yards and Houston’s only touchdown in the team’s Week 5 win over the Jaguars. He had an NFL-leading 18 tackles in five games.
“After a quarter of football, we like where he is,” Smith said. “Lots more to do, but I like how trendy it is.”
Pierce has carried Houston’s offense this season as a quarterback Davis Mills struggled, with just five touchdown passes and four interceptions.
The Raiders received a big boost at the start of this season thanks to the running back Josh Jacobswho joined Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson as the only players in franchise history with consecutive games with at least 140 rushing yards.
Jacobs is showing off the blast he had at the start of his rookie season in 2019 but had been lacking for the past two years as he battled several nagging injuries.
“He runs extremely violent, and not just physically, but his cuts are violent, his mentality is violent,” Carr said. that, but you’ve seen him a few times over the last two weeks, he looks at security and says, “Okay, I’m coming.” And he’s going to do it game after game after game.”
The game is a family affair for the McDaniels clan with Josh McDaniels in his first year as Raiders coach and his younger brother, Ben, in his second year on the Houston staff where he is currently coaching the wide receivers and passing game coordinator.
It’s the brothers’ third time meeting in the NFL with Josh winning matchups in 2013 between New England and Tampa Bay and in 2021 between the Patriots and Texans.
“Those are always interesting,” said Josh McDaniels. “I have a lot of respect and admiration for my brother and the work he does. He’s a really good coach, and it’s fun things to watch in the years to come, you know, when we competed and trained against each other. I tried to recruit my silver and black mom and dad for sure this week, and I think I’m winning this war right now.
LOSS OF KEY
Raiders face big loss on defense after cornerback Nate Hobbs went on injured reserve this week with a broken hand. Hobbs was Las Vegas’ top player in high school with the ability to play in the slot machine and out. Anthony Avertettewho broke his hand in the first game, could return this week and help out.
AP Sports Writer Kristie Rieken in Houston contributed to this report.