NFL Super Wild Card Weekend Preview! - AFC #5 Las Vegas Raiders AT #4 Cincinnati Bengals
In just three days, on Saturday, January 15th 2022, the Las Vegas Raiders will have made the nearly 2,000 mile (around 3,140 km) journey to Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio to face the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL's opening Wild Card Round of the 2021-22 Playoffs! This Wild Card game is set to kickoff around 4:30 PM (NYC time). The weather in Cincinnati at that time is expected to be 30°F (-1°C) with temps reaching as low as 27°F (-3°C) during the game.
This game will actually be a rematch from an earlier November 21st matchup. That game took place in Las Vegas where the Bengals were victorious. Overall that game was pretty competitive even though the final score may suggest otherwise.
It is no coincidence that these two squads are separated by just one seed. This matchup really feels that close. They both finished with identical 10-7 records and overall just seem very similar in a lot of ways. They both have a strong pass heavy style offensive attack thanks to their good quarterback play and many receiving threats.
These teams feel like legit wild card teams that really any NFL team would be reluctant to face. If either of these teams are on their A game, they could probably beat any team. Watching them throughout the year and from recently watching some videos I can see that both these teams fight and scratch and claw. They truly are scrappy, and seem pretty physical. They just lacked some consistency to reach a higher seed.
Notable Bengals W-L from the Regular Season
|Notable WINS||Notable LOSSES|
|Steelers (Swept 2-0)||-|
|Ravens (Swept 2-0)||-|
Notable Raiders W-L from the Regular Season
|Notable WINS||Notable LOSSES|
Both teams took Ls thanks to the Bears? Dang. But who has better wins, who has the worse losses? Hmmm.
This will be the first time the Bengals have been in the post season since 2016. This is the first time the Raiders have been in the playoffs since 2017.
The Bengals haven't won a playoff game since 1990!!! I wasn't even born by a few years!!!! It's been quite awhile for the Raiders since their last post season victory as well, they haven't won one since 2002! These fanbases are DYING for a playoff win!
This will be the first time either of these team's quarterbacks have played a playoff game in their careers. Raiders QB Derek Carr has waited eight seasons, while Bengals QB Joe Burrow made his first playoff game in just his second year.
Let's see how these teams stack up statistically. There are playmakers all over the field in this game!
|Derek Carr - Raiders QB||2021-22 Reg. Season Stat Category||Joe Burrow - Bengals QB|
This game is going to have some HIGH level QB play! Both quarterbacks have similar yards, interceptions thrown and completion percentage. Can't wait to see them perform. Especially considering how many weapons there are on both teams! Joe Burrow helped two receivers gain over 1,000 yards AND the Bengals had a 1,000 yard rusher. That offense is stacked. The Raiders are also well balanced with key weapons throughout their offense.
|WR Ja'Marr Chase - Bengals Top Receiving Target||2021-22 Reg. Season Stat Category||WR Hunter Renfrow - Raiders Top Receiving Target|
|18||Yards Per Reception||10.1|
Both Renfrow and Chase had career years. Well Chase is a ROOKIE so who the heck knows how good he could become!
|RB Joe Mixon - Bengals Top Running Back||2021-22 Reg. Season Stat Category||RB Josh Jacobs - Raiders Top Running Back|
|4.1||Yards Per Carry||4|
|1,519||Yards From Scrimmage||1,220|
Running backs Mixon and Jacobs both had relatively comparable seasons with Mixon having a bit of a better one. These guys really help their offenses run smooth as possible.
|WR Tee Higgins - Bengals #2 Receiving Target||2021-22 Reg. Season Stat Category||TE Darren Waller - Raiders #2 Receiving Target|
|14.7||Yards Per Reception||12.1|
Both Higgins and Waller proved to be very reliable second options for Burrow and Carr.
To put it simply, these offenses are one of the stronger passing offenses in the NFL. They very much try to play the modern style of pass heavy ball, while being efficient enough on the ground. Both the Bengals and Raiders finished top 10 in passing yards per game in the NFL this season.
The defenses of both these teams are kind of on the bad side. The Bengals seem to have an ok rush defense though.
This is a REALLY tough one to call. Honestly. I don't even want to avoid making a prediction it's just truly pretty tough to choose between these teams. The Bengals beat the Raiders earlier this season, but that was then. Back then the Raiders were in the thick of A LOT of off the field drama.
I think the Bengals might be the safer choice considering the past win over the Raiders AND the fact that this game will be played in Cincy.
I will not be surprised if the Raiders win this one though. That Raiders team has got grit and some veterans that really want to win in the playoffs.
This game has potential to be WILD!!! I will have my popcorn ready!
Who do you got in this one? Leave some thoughts and predictions!