Houston Texans NFL

Texans’ Osweiler starting in playoff game against Raiders

Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler

Photo Credit: Buda Mendes / Getty Images

The Houston Texans host the Oakland Raiders on Saturday in an AFC wild card game. For a while it looked like it would be Houston’s Tom Savage vs. Oakland’s Derek Carr in the quarterback position. But Carr broke his fibula and Savage got a concussion. So, it’s Brock Osweiler vs. Connor Cook.

Cook is the Raiders’ third-string quarterback (second-stringer Matt McGloin hurt his shoulder), a rookie, and looking to make his first NFL start in Saturday’s game. With the position of quarterback as important as it is, the Raiders will be looking for Cook to be as close to perfect as possible and lead them to their first road playoff win since 1980.

The Texans, meanwhile, will be counting on Osweiler to perform better than he did during the regular season. They’re minus-49 in point differential, seventh-worst ever by a playoff team. They’re also minus-7 in turnover differential, worst among all playoff teams – mostly because Osweiler threw 16 interceptions.

So what do the Texans have going for them? Well, they’ve got the top-ranked defense. Unfortunately, the lowest point in the season for that defense came against the Oakland Raiders in Week 11. They gave away the lead in the fourth quarter of that matchup. If they can avoid having a late meltdown this time, their strong defense may be enough to keep the Raiders at bay.

The Raiders have the largest line in the league; it’s well poised to handle the Texans’ best pass rusher, Jadeveon Clowney. They’ve only allowed 16 quarterback sacks this season, so their rookie third-stringer will be well protected. And Oakland has run the most plays in the NFL with an extra offensive lineman.

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