Bengals vs. Raiders breakdown with Raiders Wire ahead of Week 11

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The Cincinnati Bengals head west for a game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.

That showdown between 5-4 clubs that have lost two in a row will play a big part in determining how things shake out in the AFC playoff picture.

To get a better idea of what to expect as the Bengals take on an unorthodox opponent, we sat down with Raiders Wire managing editor Marcus Mosher.

Bengals Wire: The Raiders have been known for late-season collapses in recent years. At 0-2 since a Week 8 bye, after a 5-2 start, is that happening again?

Nov 14, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) celebrates the touchdown scored by wide receiver Bryan Edwards (89) during the second half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders Wire: Yes. But this one is a bit more explainable. They’ve lost their head coach, their No. 1 receiver and several key defensive players. However, they are still right in the thick of things in the AFC, so don’t rule them out quite yet.

Bengals Wire: How much has/will the offense change with DeSean Jackson arriving in the Henry Ruggs role? Bengals coaches sound like they’re prepping for essentially the same thing.

Oct 4, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller (83) celebrates after catching a pass for a touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers during the second half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders Wire: His first game action was last week and he only played a few plays. It’s fair to expect a bigger role, but he’s just not the complete receiver Ruggs was earlier in the season. The Raiders will certainly take their chances with Jackson down the field, but it’s fair to say he’s only a fraction of the player of Ruggs.

Bengals Wire: What’s going wrong for a Gus Bradley-directed defense letting up 25.6 points per game? What should the Bengals be looking to attack?

Cincinnati Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah (87) walks for the locker room after the fourth quarter of the NFL Week 9 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. Cleveland kept a halftime lead to clinch a 41-16 win over the Bengals.
Cleveland Browns At Cincinnati Bengals Week 9

Raiders Wire: The defense has actually been better than what their PPG indicate. In their wins, they’ve allowed opponents to score some garbage-time points and the offense has given up multiple scores, as well. For the most part, Bradley’s defense has played well this season and they are the reason the Raiders were 5-2 at one point in the season.

But to answer your question, it’s the linebackers and the safeties. Well, that’s actually not fair. It’s really just Johnathan Abram in the secondary. He’s really struggled in coverage (again) and misses far too many tackles. The Bengals would be wise to get him in one-on-one situations with a running back or tight end as it would be a big disadvantage for Las Vegas’ defense.

Bengals Wire: Are there any underrated players on either side of the ball Bengals fans should know about going into this one?

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) takes the field to face the New York Jets during an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Raiders Wire: Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue have been lights-out this season, but don’t forget about defensive tackle Solomon Thomas. The former No. 3 overall pick has made the move to defensive tackle and he can create quick pressure from the interior. He’s not going to take over a game, but he can win his matchup more often than not.

Bengals Wire: How do you see this one playing out between two desperate teams that have lost two in a row?

Oct 31, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd (83) looks on before the game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders Wire: The pass rush of the Raiders has been really good this season and they have the cornerbacks to match up with the wide receivers of the Bengals. I expect this to be a really close game, but for the Raiders to win on a last-second field goal, 23-20. However, I will admit this feels like a coin flip game in which either team could easily win. Entering Week 11, these are two very similar teams.

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