KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:05 ET
TV: CBS, Bill Macatee, Solomon Wilcots
2006 RANKINGS: Texans: offense 20th (26th rush, 16th pass); defense 27th (17th rush, 28th pass). Raiders: offense 32nd (20th rush, 32nd pass); defense 7th (25th rush, 1st pass)
PREDICTION: Raiders 23-17
KEYS TO THE GAME:
It will be interesting to see if new Raiders offensive coordinator John Shoop makes an increased effort to get the ball to WR Randy Moss, who has just four receptions for 34 yards and no touchdowns the past three games.
To deal with Oakland's vertical passing threat, Houston needs to be able to stop the run and provide extra help to a secondary that has taken a step back the past two games. The Texans are also in an offensive funk, with QB David Carr throwing just one touchdown pass the past five games after throwing nine through the first six.
The strength of Oakland's defense is its secondary, but Houston never knows what it will get from its ground game from week to week. However, expect coach Gary Kubiak to stick with the ground game as long as the score is close after admitting the Texans abandoned the run too early last Sunday.
FAST FACTS: Texans: WR Andre Johnson leads the NFL and has already set a franchise single-season record with 84 receptions. ... WR Eric Moulds needs one touchdown reception to reach 50 for his career. Raiders: Defense's 14 interceptions equal its combined total the past two seasons. ... Have not allowed more than 21 points in the past seven games.
--RB Ron Dayne has been practicing with the first team and is expected to be activated this week. He has been on the inactive list the past three weeks.
--FB Jameel Cook has been slowed in recent weeks by a knee injury that has gotten worse. He has not practiced yet this week and may be inactive for the first time this season.
--DE Anthony Weaver did not practice Wednesday or Thursday. He has had this schedule in recent weeks though because of his ankle. He is playing through the injury.
--WR Jerome Mathis will be the backup to Andre Johnson this week. He will enter the game as a receiver whenever Johnson pulls himself out. Mathis also will return kicks.
--QB Bradlee Van Pelt has been given a crash course on the offense and has been boosted by the fact that he has background with it. The Texans plan to suit him up as their backup on Sunday.
--DE Lance Johnstone, listed as questionable, missed practice Thursday for the second consecutive day due to a broken toe and a knee injury.
--WR Jerry Porter is doubtful with a hip flexor injury and will be inactive for the sixth time this season, to go along with a two-game suspension and four games as a substitute. Porter has one catch for 19 yards.
--C Adam Treu, placed on injured reserve Tuesday with a torn left quadriceps, had surgery Wednesday.