Longhorns in the NFL

Will Korn

As always, this weekend of NFL action features a parade of former Texan Longhorn players.  For Longhorn fans there are quite a few games Sunday to keep an eye on.  Two games in particular – Washington Redskins vs. Oakland Raiders and the Baltimore Ravens vs. Buffalo Bills – will feature a nice collection of Texas players.  In addition to their appeal to Texas football fans, both of these games seem to have make-or-break implications for at least one of the teams involved.  Let’s take a look at the matchups.

Ravens at Bills

Marquise Goodwin is still out with the fractured hand he suffered in the Bills’ week-one loss to the Patriots.  Bummer.  It would have definitely been exciting to see his blazing breakaway speed matched up with the likes of defensive backs Michael Huff and Chykie Brown.  

Look for CB Aaron Williams to have another huge day against a Ravens squad, which is depleted at the receiver position.  In week two, Williams recorded a team-high 12 tackles.  This is a paramount game for the Bills – the difference between 1-3 and 2-2 in this league is greater than it appears.  This is Williams’ chance to shine again, only this time against the defending champs.  I’m taking the Ravens in a close one, as Justin Tucker wins it on a last second field goal.  

Redskins at Raiders

Since 1990, only three teams have made the playoffs after starting 0-3.  To avoid permanently crippling their season with their 0-4 start, the Redskins need some big-time defensive help for Robert Griffin III.  Enter the Texas stars:  DE Brian Orakpo, CB Cedric Griffin and LB Keenan Robinson will need to step and play effectively to keep Griffin and the offense on the field.  The defense has already surrendered 98 points in their first three games.  Offensively, the Redskins are putting up a decent amount of points but Griffin is constantly having to play catch up – thus turning himself into a one-dimensional quarterback.  The defensive effort starts with Orakpo, who has been Washington’s best individual defender over the first three weeks.

Oakland defensive tackle Lamarr Houston will be key in applying pressure to Griffin in the pocket.  In three games this year, he’s tallied two sacks and a forced fumble.  If he and the Raider defense can minimize their time on the field, Oakland is in good shape.  The last thing the Redskins’ defense needs right now is 35+ minutes on the field.  This is going to be tough contest for Washington, but I think they’ll pick up their first win.  It’s not the opponent but the wild, Oakland atmosphere that will make things difficult for the ‘Skins as they look to avoid an 0-4 start.