Revving up for their first game on foreign soil in two years and fresh off a bye week, the scorching Oakland Raiders (7-2) pit their high-flying offense against a much-improved Houston Texans (6-3) squad in Week 11’s Monday night clash at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City
Oakland has won six of its last seven games and is coming off its biggest victory of the season. Powered by running back Latavius Murray’s three rushing touchdowns, the Raiders stunned Denver’s stalwart defense, 30-20, and Murray tallied a season-high 114 yards out of the team’s 218 total.
While quarterback and MVP candidate Derek Carr threw for only 184 yards, one week after setting a new team record of 513 passing yards, the matchup showed Oakland’s offense is capable of adapting to opponents and helped keep pace with Kansas City in the AFC West hunt.
The Raiders, who have gone 1-1 with Carr after a bye, will face a Texans squad that’s relied heavily on its defense to claim first place in the AFC South. Houston, even in the absence of three-time Defensive Player of the Year and pass rusher J.J. Watt due to a season-ending back injury, rank fourth in the NFL in total defense and is second in pass defense (197 yards per game).
But, with Murray finding his groove and Carr one of the most efficient and careful passers in the league, the Texans are vulnerable. Houston’s No. 26 in the NFL against the run, surrendering 120.7 yards per game and is No. 27 with just eight turnovers forced nine games.
Still, the Texans are showing signs of improvement in both areas. In their 24-21 win at Jacksonville, which served as their first road victory of the season, the Texans generated to two turnovers, including cornerback Kareem Jackson’s interception returned for a 42-yard touchdown. That marked Houston’s first defensive touchdown of the season.
And in their last two games, the Texans allowed the Jaguars to total 80 rushing yards and Detroit just 58 yards. Those teams, however, are No. 26 and No. 27 in rushing offense this season, compared to a well-balanced Raiders unit ranked fourth in rushing.
The game marks the first time the NFL’s gone to Mexico since 2005 and only the second to ever take place during the regular season. Arizona and San Francisco squared off in the same venue 11 years ago the Cardinals coming out on top. The Raiders last played abroad in London in 2014, losing to Miami 28-14 in Week 4.
Oakland also has some history south of the border, facing Dallas in an exhibition in Mexico City back in 2001.
Betting Odds: Oakland -6 (-115); Houston +6 (-105) via Bovada.lv
Over/Under: 46 points