By Dave Thomas
As the Houston Texans are learning this season, it can actually get worse before it gets better.
This past Sunday, the demoralized Texans suffered their seventh straight defeat, this one a 27-24 loss in the desert to the Arizona Cardinals. With it, the Texans were all but eliminated from the AFC Wild Card race.
For the Texans, a once promising 2-0 start has turned over the last month and a half into a season that no one wearing the Texan colors wants to remember anytime soon. There have been injuries and sloppy play, not to mention the health of head coach Gary Kubiak has left this franchise reeling since wins over San Diego and Tennessee in early September. In a season where the AFC South was certainly winnable for the defending champions, that probably is like pouring salt on the wound.
Raiders Pay a Visit
While the Texans will not be playing the Chiefs, Broncos or Patriots this coming Sunday at Reliant Stadium, they host a team in the Oakland Raiders that is capable of playing decent ball on any given Sunday.
For the Raiders, the 2013 season has had similarities to that of the Texans, most notably inconsistent play from week to week, especially at the quarterback position.
Heading into this Sunday’s contest, QB Terrelle Pryor has accounted for 1,559 yards and five TDs, not exactly Peyton Manning or Drew Brees type numbers. Like many other young quarterbacks in today’s game, Pryor shows flashes of brilliance at times (especially when running the ball), but then also reverts back to the inexperienced field general that he is at other times.
The bottom line, Pryor is a big reason the Raiders sit three games under .500 at this point and time. While the raw talent is there, he has not been able to connect all the dots yet.
Speaking of the ground game, Pryor is also the team’s leading rusher (504 yards), a stat that points out the inability of Darren McFadden (352 yards rushing) to stay healthy on a consistent basis. In the air, wide receiver Denarius Moore leads the way with 558 receiving yards and four TD’s.
Defensively, Oakland has looked to middle linebacker Nick Roach (64 total tackles) and right defensive end Lamarr Houston (four sacks) to lead the way.
Even though the Texans are all but done when it comes to the AFC playoff race for 2013, they do have the opportunity to not only play spoiler over the remaining seven games, but also build something for 2014.
For a Houston team desperately seeking a win, it all starts with beating another team this Sunday that is essentially in the same boat set adrift.
For more Houston Texans news and updates, visit Houston Texans Central.
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.