Texans would be wise not to overlook Raiders

Sep 26, 2010; Glendale, AZ, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Bruce Gradkowski (5), left, and offensive coordinator Hue Jackson during the game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Raiders 24-23. . Photo via Newscom

The Raiders are about where everyone thought they’d be at this point in the season: sitting with a losing record.

The Titans crushed them in Week 1, they hung on to beat the Rams in Week 2 and Sebastian Janikowski missed a 32-yard field goal in the closing seconds against Arizona last week that would have put them at 2-1.

But at least Al Davis’ team has shown that they have a pulse and a lot of that has to do with the spark that quarterback Bruce Gradkowski has given them. According to ESPN.com, his 10.6 yards per attempt average leads all NFL quarterbacks this season, which provides some proof that he’s throwing the ball vertically and staying aggressive in the passing game.

After Davis acquired Jason Campbell from the Redskins this offseason, not many people expected Gradkowski to be leading this team so early in the season. But he’s playing well and now has a golden opportunity to make a name for himself if he can lead Oakland to a victory over Houston this weekend.

The Texans currently rank 31st in total defense and 32nd in pass defense. They start a rookie in Kareem Jackson at one corner and a second-year player in Glover Quin at the other. There’s no need to make Gradkowski out to be Peyton Manning, but he could definitely do some damage against the young, inexperienced secondary that he’ll face this weekend.

Houston may also be depleted, as Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels have both missed practice this week with injuries. Johnson says he’ll play, but a high ankle sprain has left him sore throughout the week and Daniels is dealing with a hamstring injury (and is still recovering from knee surgery). It should go without saying that teams can’t overlook any opponent in the NFL, but that’s especially the case this Sunday for the Texans when they travel to Oakland.

Could there be an upset in the making?

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