Las Vegas vs Cincinnati Preview
January 15, 4:30 pm ET, Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Las Vegas- 5 Seed (AFC West) 10-7 overall
Cincinnati- 4 Seed (AFC North) 10-7 overall
Why Las Vegas will win-
The Raiders are playing some of their best football of the year at the right time winning 4 straight to secure a playoff berth. The team is confident and playing inspired after the recent passing of franchise icon John Madden. Defensive ends Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue who have combined for 18 sacks look to exploit a Cincinnati O line that ranks 30th in the league in sacks allowed per game. QB Derrick Carr who guided the 6th best passing attack in the NFL should be able to put up yards against the Bengals secondary that ranks near the bottom of the league in pass yards allowed at 248.4.
Why Cincinnati will win-
The Bengals dominated the Raiders 32-13 in Las Vegas on November 30th so they have plenty to feel confident about heading into Saturday’s game. The atmosphere should be electric as the team hosts their first home playoff game since 2015 which also marks the last time they reached the playoffs. The offense with the exception of last week when multiple starters were out has been firing on all cylinders led by QB Joe Burrow (4,611 pass yards, 34 TD’s) and WR Ja’Marr Chase (1,455 receiving yards, 14 TD’s). The unit should be able to put up numbers on a Raider defense that has allowed over 30 points in 5 games this season.
Key to the Game-
How much pressure can the Raiders put on Burrow? The Bengals haven’t been a great rushing team all year despite RB Joe Mixon rushing for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns in the first meeting. Despite trailing for much of that game and giving up almost 130 yards on the ground the Raiders pass rush still generated 3 sacks. For Las Vegas to be successful they must do a better job stopping Mixon and putting Joe Burrow in obvious passing situations and let the pass rush duo of Crosby and Ngakoue go to work.
Eye Test Analytics Predicted Score- Cincinnati by 5.89 points