Houston Texans vs Oakland Raiders Live Stream (ESPN): Watch NFL Playoffs 2016 Online
The Houston Texans and the Oakland Raiders will clash in a huge NFL Wild Card Round game on Saturday as the NFL Playoffs 2017 get underway. Both teams have fought hard all season long to make the postseason, but their progression now comes down to one game with the loser facing instant elimination.
The game has a scheduled start time of 4.35 p.m. ET and takes place from NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. The game can be watched on TV on the ESPN network or online through live stream (details below).
This will be the Raiders' first postseason game since Super Bowl XXXVII, when they were overwhelmed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They have the challenge of traveling to Houston to face a Texans side that is featuring in its second Playoffs appearance in a row after gaining their second straight AFC South division title.
Much of the pre-game talk has centered around two young wide receivers who have set the NFL alight numerous times this season; Houston's DeAndre Hopkins, and the Raiders' Amari Cooper.
Both have helped their teams to make the postseason, but now is where the real business is done, and if they both can step up today then it will make for a fantastic spectacle for NFL fans.
The Raiders must find a way to work their way through the Texans' strong defensive unit, which boasts the best defense in the league for yards allowed. Oakland will try to break down the Houston defense via their offense that has been successful through the season, especially in the air, where they averaged 253.2 yards per game on pass.
Raiders' quarterback Derek Carr will be vitally important to the Raiders' aspirations. He went 357 of 560 for 3,937 yards and an impressive 28 touchdowns.
Carr has connected with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree through the season to great success, with Cooper receiving 83 throws for 1,153 yards and 5 touchdowns. Crabtree meanwhile received 89 times for 1,003 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Opposite Carr will be Brock Osweiler for the Houston Texans, and he went 301 of 510 attempts for 2,957 yards and 15 touchdowns. His main target man this season has been DeAndre Hopkins who caught 78 throws for 954 yards and 4 touchdowns. Osweiler has utilized Lamar Miller on the ground excellently also this season, with Miller carrying the ball forwards 268 times for 1,073 yards and 5 touchdowns.
The Raiders will be hugely disappointed to have fallen into the Wild Card games. For a long time they looked like they would gain one of the top seeding spots to receive a bye through Round 1 in the postseason, but by losing two games in December they slipped back to 12-4 and lost out to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Oakland will look to their 13-21 road defeat to the Chiefs on Dec. 8 as a huge reason they let things slip, but a final regular season day defeat to the Denver Broncos is what ultimately saw them fall short.
They must get back to their best and quick, as their spotty form of late could see them exit the Playoffs quickly after working so hard for so many months to make it this far.
The Texans meanwhile were able to clinch the AFC South division title despite having an identical 9-7 record as the Tennessee Titans. Their three game win streak came to an end on Jan. 1 when they lost 17-24 to the Titans, although they had already clinched the division title by that time and cannot be faulted for taking their foot off the gas a little in preparation for the Playoffs. But they must make sure they get back to their best to ensure they get past the Raiders today.
Today's big game between the Houston Texans and the Oakland Raiders has a scheduled start time of 4.35 p.m. ET and can be watched on TV on the ESPN network or online through live stream by clicking here.