When Jon Gruden looked at this year’s Raiders schedule, he wasn’t happy.
His Oakland team was given a 48-day trial of six straight weeks without a home game.
After opening 2019 with games at home against the Broncos and Chiefs, the Raiders have had consecutive weeks in Minnesota, Indianapolis, London (for a supposed home game against the Bears), a bye, in Green Bay and – this Sunday – the final stop in Houston for a matchup with the Texans.
Said Gruden, back in September: "It’s uncommon, maybe unprecedented, maybe unrealistic that this should ever happen in pro football. I’m not excited about it, but we’ll adapt and do it the best we can."
Surprisingly, the Raiders have done just that.
The Raiders are 3-3 and still in the race for the AFC West title, trailing the 5-2 Chiefs, who just lost star quarterback Patrick Mahomes. They have wins against the Colts and Bears, and – despite getting blown out by the Packers last week, 42-24 – could come out of this long road stretch at 4-3 if they can beat the 4-3 Texans.
Oakland is expected to have offensive tackle Trent Brown back in the lineup, along with new wideout Zay Jones, acquired in a trade with Buffalo a week ago.
The Texans had won four of five games before losing last week to the Colts, 30-23.
If Gruden’s team can win this Sunday, it will be in a solid spot at 4-3 and with three straight games at home against the Lions, Chargers and Bengals.
Quarterack Derek Carr said this week his team can be in great shape if things fall into place in Houston.
"We’re in alright position to make a run coming with a whole bunch of home games," Carr told Anthony Galaviz of the Fresno Bee. "We need Raider Nation to be loud, to be aggressive, to be there after we get back from this last (road) game because we can put ourselves in a position to make a run with a lot of home games."
Carr says he’s hopeful about the remainder of the schedule and the opportunities at home in the second half.
"I am tired of traveling, but we will do it one more time," said Carr. "We will grit it out and hopefully come back home with a win."
Kickoff Sunday in Houston is scheduled for 1:25 p.m.