Raiders Vs Bengals Wild Card Weekend Preview
Wild Card Weekend will get underway on Saturday at 430 PM EST. Our first matchup happens to be between two AFC opponents. The four seed Cincinnati Bengals are hosting the five seed Las Vegas Raiders. Las Vegas has made the post season after winning their last four to clinch their spot in the playoff. They also took place in a crazy Sunday night football game which helped them clinch their spot in the playoffs. Cincinnati on the other hand clinched the AFC North title, but they have won three out of their last six games. Also these two teams met earlier in the season and Cincinnati beat the Raiders at Vegas. With that being said here is my preview for this Wild Card matchup.
The Las Vegas Raiders got hot at the right time and this is why they are in the playoffs. After getting embarrassed at Kansas City, this Raiders team won four one score games in a row to clinch a playoff berth. This matchup might be best case scenario for them to be honest. Raiders have had more recent playoff success then Cincinnati. Let’s start by talking about this Raiders offense. They average 268.6 passing yards per game (6th in the league) and they score an average of 22 points per game.
This offense is led by quarterback Derek Carr who has thrown for 4,804 passing yards to go along with 23 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. We have to give this Raiders team a lot of credit though offensively. Without their number one target and with losing their head coach during the middle of the season. They managed to get the job done and it should be talked about more around the league.
Defensively, the Raiders were a lot better than people gave them credit for. They only give up 25.8 points per game and is in the top 20 in total yards allowed per game, passing yards allowed per game and rushing yards allowed per game. Their defensive line is solid and they are getting good production from their secondary. This is big for the Raiders because they will need their defense to be in tip top condition to go up against Joe Burrow’s Cincinnati offense. They will look to avenge the loss from earlier in the season.
The Cincinnati Bengals had a big glow up in 2021 and now are AFC North Divisional Champions. People criticized the Bengals for taking Ja’Marr Chase before the season started. To all those critics, congratulations you absolutely played yourself. Chase set a Bengals single season record for most receiving yards in a single season. This has to be the best Bengals offense that we have seen in quite some time. Cincinnati had a 1,000 yard rusher in Joe Mixon. Two 1,000 yard receivers in Chase and Tee Higgins and a quarterback who threw for 4,611 passing yards in a season. Burrow has helped change the complexion of this offense and head coach Zac Taylor finally looks to be as good as people thought he would be.
Defensively, this Bengals team is very good at stopping the run. They allow just over 100 rushing yards per game and are ranked 5th in the league in fewest rushing yards allowed per game. Cincinnati is going to need their secondary to step up in this one. When they met back in week 11, this defense contained the Raiders air attack. They will need to do more of the same in this Wild Card matchup. Get pressure on Carr and don’t give him time to throw. Look for the Bengals to try and repeat the same formula that they came up with from their first entanglement.
Cincinnati is a 5.5 point favorite with the over/under set at 49.5. This game is going to be a good one to kick off the Wild Card weekend. I love the Raiders in this revenge spot. I would take them with the points and don’t hate the idea of sprinkling a little bit on the money line. The Bengals haven’t won a playoff game since 1990, I hate to follow that trend but I kind of have to here. The Raiders haven’t won a playoff game since 2002. One of these teams are breaking a streak, but I think the Raiders at least cover the spread in this matchup. Take the Raiders +5.5 as they will keep it close enough and could very well win this game outright.
-Chris Jones (@cjoneswho1212)
Featured Image (lineups.com)
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