Two weeks removed from Derek Carr’s devastating injury, the Oakland Raiders are reportedly preparing rookie Connor Cook to start against the Houston Texans. This is due to the fact that Matt McGloin is not expected to be ready to play after suffering a shoulder injury in Week 17, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 3, 2017
This will be Cook’s first career NFL start. A three-year starter at Michigan State, Cook possesses experience playing in big games. However, one thing that’s troubling is that throughout his college career he struggled with accuracy, finishing all three seasons completing well below 60 percent of his passes.
That said, Cook didn’t crumble in relief of McGloin last weekend, completing 14-of-21 passes for 150 yards with one touchdown and one interception. But a big concern for Oakland is the simple fact that Houston comes into the game with the NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense, allowing fewer yards than any team all year.
The Texans are also coming in with some quarterback concerns of their own, however, which could somewhat balance the scales. After being benched in favor of Tom Savage earlier this year, Brock Osweiler is almost surely going to start with Savage on the NFL concussion protocol.
It’s not your ideal playoff matchup, but it is what it is. It’s going to likely take some strong defensive play and a tremendous performance by Oakland’s running game to propel the Raiders into the Divisional Round of the playoffs.