4 Reasons The Raiders Will Upset The Bengals In Wild Card Matchup

Las Vegas Raiders, NFL News
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The Las Vegas Raiders had one of the craziest paths to the NFL postseason of any team in recent memory. They have overcome a ton of adversity and challenges to qualify for the playoffs and will be ready to keep this season going.

Las Vegas saw their head coach Jon Gruden resign following some of his emails leaking during an investigation into the Washington Football Team.

Wide receiver Henry Ruggs III was involved in a deadly car crash and subsequently released. Cornerback Damon Arnette was also released after a video surfaced of him brandishing weapons and issuing death threats. Fellow cornerback Nate Hobbs was also arrested for DUI.

Things have certainly not been easy, but interim head coach Rich Bisaccia has done an excellent job rallying the troops and keeping the team focused. That focus will now be turned to the Cincinnati Bengals.

What will it take for the Raiders to exact some revenge on the Bengals from their loss earlier this season? Here are four reasons that Las Vegas will upset Cincinnati in their Wild Card matchup.

4. Riding A Wave Of Momentum

The Las Vegas Raiders come into the postseason as one of the hottest teams in the tournament. Their four-game win streak is tied for the longest in the league with the Buffalo Bills.

Teams peaking as the Raiders are, usually are the most dangerous in the postseason. They needed to play at a high level just to qualify and they were able to do that. The schedule was not a cakewalk either, as they won while visiting the Cleveland Browns, essentially eliminating them.

LATEST NFL NEWS: Aaron Rodgers Doesn’t Hold Back On Opinion Of Raiders’ Derek Carr

After that, they hosted the Denver Broncos in what was basically another elimination game. They paid a visit to the Indianapolis Colts and defeated them before hosting the Los Angeles Chargers in a win and you’re in-game in Week 18, which they won in overtime.

Las Vegas has a ton of confidence entering this week and will look to ride their momentum to a fifth straight victory.

3. Darren Waller Getting Healthy

One of the reasons that the Las Vegas Raiders hit a lull in the middle entering the late part of the season was all of the adjustments they had to make offensively. It was hard enough having to replace a first-round pick in Henry Ruggs III, but when Darren Waller went down as well, the Raiders struggled.

Waller is one of the elite tight ends in the NFL. he is a favorite target of Derek Carr, who had to build up chemistry with other receivers in place of Ruggs and Waller. Now that he is back and rounding into shape, it will only mean good things for the offense.

LATEST NFL NEWS: Aaron Rodgers Doesn’t Hold Back On Opinion Of Raiders’ Derek Carr

Waller played in the season finale and looked like he had some rust to knock off, which is understandable. He had not played since getting injured on Thanksgiving against the Dallas Cowboys.

With Waller back in the fold, the Raiders offense becomes that much more explosive. He torched the Cincinnati Bengals in the first matchup, catching seven passes for 118 yards and will be looking to replicate that performance.

2. Josh Jacobs Heating Up

The 2021 season was a struggle at times for Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs. But, toward the end of the season, he began finding his stride and looking more like the player that he was during his rookie season.

Jacobs surpassed the 100-yard plateau in two out of the final three games of the season. It could not come at a better time for the Raiders, as Derek Carr didn’t have spectacular performances down the stretch.

LATEST NFL NEWS: Aaron Rodgers Doesn’t Hold Back On Opinion Of Raiders’ Derek Carr

If the Raiders are to pull off the upset against the Cincinnati Bengals, they will need to get Jacobs involved early and often, setting the tone with their ground game. If they can get Cincinnati’s defense focused on slowing him down, things will open up for Carr through the air.

1. Strong Pass Rush

The best thing that the Las Vegas Raiders have working for them to upset the Cincinnati Bengals is that they have an excellent pass rush. Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue will be salivating at the chance to go against this offensive line again.

The Bengals’ offensive line has not been great. Joe Burrow was sacked 51 times this season and the Raiders will be looking to add to that total. If they can get the pass rush going early and often, they will be in great shape of picking up the win.

LATEST NFL NEWS: Aaron Rodgers Doesn’t Hold Back On Opinion Of Raiders’ Derek Carr

This is the biggest X-Factor in the matchup and will decide the victor. If Las Vegas gets after Burrow, knocking him out of rhythm and making him uncomfortable, they have a great shot at winning. If not, the Bengals could pick them apart with ease.

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