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Raiders at Bengals: 4 bold predictions for NFL Playoff game

Andrew Buller-Russ

The Las Vegas Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals go head-to-head in the AFC Wild Card Playoffs at 4:30 PM on Saturday in what will be the first playoff game in a while for both teams.

Finishing 10-7 this season, the Raiders haven’t been in the postseason since 2016. The Bengals also went 10-7 and will be playing their first elimination game since 2015.

Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals game information, point spread and more

DateTime (ET)TV
Saturday, January 154:30 PMNBC, Peacock, Universo
  • Raiders at Bengals point spread: Bengals -5.0
  • Over/under: 48.5
  • Moneyline: Raiders +180; Bengals -220

Down below we offer four bold predictions for what figures to be a back-and-forth AFC Wild Card matchup between the Raiders and Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium this weekend.

Related: Sportsnaut’s updated NFL Playoff and Super Bowl predictions

Las Vegas Raiders sack Joe Burrow five times

raiders at bengals
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

These two teams already faced each other once this season, with the Bengals coming up victorious in a 32-13 win in Week 11. In that matchup the Raiders sacked Joe Burrow three times, which is actually lower than his season average. Burrow hit the deck 51 times during the 2021-22 season, which averages out to just over three sacks per game.

The Raiders have sacked just one opponent five times this season, coming in Week 6 against the Broncos, which makes this a bold prediction. At the same time, the Bengals’ offensive line has proven to be a weak spot, which gives the Raiders a chance to get after Burrow early and often. Don’t be surprised to see Yannick Ngakoue and Maxx Crosby in the backfield on more than one occasion this Saturday.

Related: Ranking NFL defenses heading into the playoffs

Ja’Marr Chase adds to historic rookie year with 150-yard day

raiders at bengals
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After the incredible season Ja’Marr Chase had, he’s in line to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. Pairing Chase with Burrow may have very well been the best move for this franchise, setting them up for success for the foreseeable future. On his way to a record-breaking year, Chase had three games with over 150 receiving yards across his first 17 games.

Going against the Raiders, where he struggled earlier in the year to the tune of three catches for 32 yards, Chase will be ready to put on a show. His previous performance against them was the third-fewest yards of his NFL career, but we’re predicting a day that gives him the third-most in his career, playing in front of Bengals fans this time around.

Vegas hasn’t allowed a receiver to top 120 yards even once this season, but Chase isn’t your average playmaker. After tallying a total of 148 passing yards the first time around, Burrow and Chase are likely putting the extra work in ahead of the first playoff matchup of their career.

Related: Bold predictions for NFL Super Wild Card Weekend

Darren Waller racks up 120 yards, two scores

raiders at bengals
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This is a bold prediction simple because Darren Waller has only played one game since missing five games with a knee injury. He wasn’t highly productive in his first game back, likely fighting some conditioning issues on his way to two catches on nine targets for just 22 yards.

However, one of his 100-yard games came against the Bengals in Week 9. Once Derek Carr gets a few more reps with Waller in practice again, we expect the talented tight end to return as his top target, despite Hunter Renfrow’s emergence. The Raiders’ offense has missed his field-stretching ability and they may look to take advantage early in the game.

Related: NFL picks against the spread, Wild Card edition

Bengals force Raiders to commit two red zone turnovers

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Las Vegas Raiders
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most underrated stats from the Bengals’ 2021-22 season is their 10 turnovers forced in the red zone. It ties for the most in the NFL. Their upcoming opponent is prone to fumbling. Carr has fumbled 13 times and Renfrow has coughed it up five times as well.

The Bengals can force turnovers by getting after Carr with Trey Hendrickson and Co. and they have home-field advantage, which will only make communicating near the end zone even more difficult for the away team. The first playoff game in Cincinnati in seven years, you can bet it will be packed at Paul Brown Stadium.

Raiders at Bengals final score prediction: Bengals 34, Raiders 27

Like most football games, this matchup could truly go either way. Both coaches are inexperienced and have never coached a playoff team. Same with the quarterbacks, having never started a postseason game.

The Bengals have an overwhelming number of offensive playmakers that will cause headaches for defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and the Raiders may not be able to keep up with their scoring attack.

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Cincinnati has the better offense and a better defense, plus an energetic audience. While the Raiders are coming off an incredible performance that saw them outlast the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday Night Football, they are an unlikely bet to go much further. Still, making it to the playoffs in what’s been an increasingly difficult season has to be seen as a major accomplishment for both Rich Bisaccia and the organization.

Expect the Bengals to roll over the Raiders, but the visiting team won’t go out without a fight.

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