For the first seven games of the season, Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson did not score a touchdown. Then, quarterback Matt Schaub went down with injury and the team turned to Case Keenum. In the last two games with Keenum at the helm, Johnson has five touchdowns. That will be a match-up the Oakland Raiders defense will have to contain in order to win Sunday on the road.
The Texans running game is without Arian Foster, who was placed on injured reserve with a back injury. In his absence, the Texans have relied on Keenum to shoulder the offensive load. He made his first start of his career in a 17-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Then, Houston had a bye and Keenum has thrown 77 times in ensuing two games. Johnson has seen 25 targets in those two games and has caught 14 passes for 266 yards and the five scores. Keenum has tunnel vision for Johnson and will look for him inside the redzone as well.
The Raiders like to bring pressure which means their cornerbacks will have some one on one match-ups with Johnson. Mike Jenkins will lineup with Johnson for the lion's share of snaps. He has done a very solid job this season. However, Houston likes to put Johnson in the slot to force a mismatch. That means both Tracy Porter and Phillip Adams have to be ready.
Keenum was described as having "Texas swag" on Sunday Night Football against the Indianapolis Colts, which is hilarious and somewhat accurate. He fits the Texans scheme well because he has some mobility and throws well down the field off the roll out. The Raiders run defense is ranked seventh best in the NFL allowing 98.4 yards per game. They can eliminate the Texans running game, especially because new starter Ben Tate is playing with fractured ribs. That leaves Keenum to Johnson as the most dangerous threat for the Houston offense.
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