FPI likes Raiders in Mexico City, but Texans' pass rush will test Carr

ByBen Alamar via ESPN logo
Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Football Power Index gives the Oakland Raiders a 63 percent chance to beat the Houston Texans in Mexico City on Monday night. The Raiders will pit their fourth-ranked offense against the Texans' sixth-ranked defense in the marquee matchup, while the other side of the ball features two units ranked 27th heading into Week 11.

The central reason for the Raiders' strength on offense is of course the continued improvement of third-year quarterback Derek Carr, who ranked 11th in QBR entering Week 11. Most of the defenses Carr has faced this season have been above average, and he has continued to excel in those situations, posting a QBR of 80 against the third-ranked Ravens defense and 79 against the Buccaneers 13th-ranked defense. Carr has succeeded by throwing mostly short passes (only 18 percent of his throws are longer than 15 yards, 22nd in the NFL), which has helped him limit interceptions. Carr has thrown nearly six times more touchdowns than interceptions -- fourth in the NFL.

That said, Carr's general formula for success runs into the Texans' strength on defense. Houston limits opponents to 5.5 yards per attempt on throws of less than 15 yards downfield (sixth-best in the league), and does it in part by getting pressure on the QB on 24 percent of short throws -- eighth-best in the league.

The test for the Raiders will be to continue to execute on the offense that has fueled their success, all while trying to slow down the Texans' pass rush.

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