Let's not get into an election argument here, and it doesn't matter to me whether you voted for Trump or Hillary. But I think even the most ardent Trump backers had to be a bit taken aback by some of the things he has said about Mexicans. Whether he actually deports all those illegal immigrants and builds a wall we will have to see.
I'm quite sure that back when the NFL announced it was playing this Monday night's game at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City that the things Trump said weren't even a second thought. But I do think it will be interesting to see what happens Monday before the Texans-Raiders game regarding the American National Anthem.
Here's hoping that nothing detracts from what could be a very important game and matches division leaders. Why pick these two teams for the league's first game south of the border since Oct. 2, 2005, and first-ever international Monday night game? The Raiders are a popular team in Mexico because of their colors, nickname and outlaw image. I do wonder whether Oakland officials now regret giving up a home game with the team a Super Bowl contender. And the Texans are a natural with the proximity to Mexico.
Texans at Raiders Betting Story Lines
Houston (6-3) entered Week 11 up two games in the loss column on Tennessee and Indianapolis in the AFC South, and those two teams play each other on Sunday. The Texans already own one win over both but still have to visit Indy and Nashville.
This past Sunday, the Texans got their first road win of the year, but barely: 24-21 at Jacksonville. Brock Osweiler has been largely a $72 million bust and has been the NFL's worst road quarterback. He wasn't much better in that game in throwing for just 99 yards on 27 attempts. How is that even possible? On the bright side, he did have two TD throws and didn't turn it over. But this team is going nowhere if Osweiler doesn't improve his NFL-worst 5.61 yards per attempt. The Texans have play-making weapons in running back Lamar Miller and receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, although Fuller has really tailed off after a quick start and missed the Jacksonville game injured. The rookie should play this week as should nose tackle Vince Wilfork and cornerback A.J. Bouye, who both missed the Jags game.
The Raiders (7-2) come off their bye on a three-game winning streak and are tied for the AFC's best record -- yet if the postseason started right now would be a wild-card team. That's because Kansas City is also 7-2 and holds the head-to-head tiebreaker. Those two play again Week 14 on a Thursday in K.C. The Broncos are just a half-game back of the Chiefs and Raiders but have played one more game. Frankly, both the Chiefs and Broncos were incredibly lucky to win Week 10. The AFC West has three seven-win teams through Week 10. That hasn't happened in any division since 1999. (AFC East and the Patriots weren't one of them!)
With the first pick of the 2014 draft, the Texans took South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. At the time, that was fine because he was the No. 1 overall prospect and dominant in college. What I have an issue with was Houston taking UCLA guard Xavier Su'a-Filo with the first pick of the second round when that franchise badly needed a quarterback. Just three picks later, the Raiders took Derek Carr out of Fresno State, and he's a rising superstar and MVP candidate. Carr has 17 touchdowns and three interceptions this season and his 5.67 TD/INT ratio is the best mark in the league among players with at least 15 touchdown passes. Houston ranks No. 3 in the NFL against the pass.
The Raiders have a Super Bowl-caliber offense, although I'm not totally sold on running back Latavius Murray. There are two good rookies to complement him in Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington. The defense started terribly but has been better of late, particularly Khalil Mack. In the four games before the bye, Mack ranked third in the NFL with six sacks, including two multi-sack performances. Stopping him will be job No. 1 for that so-so Houston offensive line. Osweiler has been sacked 17 times.
Texans at Raiders Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Oakland is a 6-point favorite (-110) with a total of 46. On the moneyline, the Raiders are -245 and Texans +205. On the alternate lines, the Raiders are -6.5 (-103) and -5.5 (-117). Houston is 5-3-1 against the spread (1-3 on road) and 4-5 "over/under" (2-2 on road). I'm going to give Oakland's road numbers too: the Raiders are 6-3 ATS (5-0 on road) and 7-2 O/U (4-1 on road).
Houston is 2-5 ATS in its past seven vs. teams with a winning record. It is 1-8 ATS in its past nine on Monday. The Raiders are 4-0 ATS in their past four after a bye. They are 10-4 ATS in their past 14 vs. the AFC. The under is 6-2 in Houston's past eight after a win. The over is 5-1 in Oakland's past six.
Texans at Raiders Betting Prediction
Houston is 6-3 all-time in this series and won the most recent matchup, 30-14 in Week 2 of the 2014 season in Oakland. Ryan Fitzpatrick was the Texans' starting QB that day. J.J. Watt caught a TD pass and Arian Foster ran for 138 yards and a score. Fitzpatrick is now with the Jets, Watt is out for the season and Foster has retired. Carr threw for 263 yards, a TD and two picks. Oakland turned it over four times.
Maybe Osweiler just stinks in the United States and will find his game out of it. Yeah, probably not. Raiders are healthier and well-rested and have played better away from home. Give the six and go under.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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