Raiders vs. Bengals predictions: How experts pick playoff clash so far

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For the ninth time since 1990, the Cincinnati Bengals have a chance to end the Curse of Bo.

That opportunity presents itself on Saturday night with the Las Vegas Raiders in town during the wild card round of the NFL playoffs.

Those Bengals finished at 10-7 and enter the game after a loss to the Browns in Week 18, albeit while resting starters with the AFC North crown already in hand. Those Raiders have to travel on a very short week after playing to the end of overtime just to qualify for the playoffs.

Below is a look at how experts are picking this one so far.

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John Breech, CBS Sports

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

John Breech of CBS Sports points out that, besides the short week and road trip for the Raiders, Derek Carr just isn’t very good in bad weather, predicting a 30-23 win for the Bengals:

“The forecast for Saturday is currently calling for a possibility of snow with a kickoff temperature under 30 degrees. Since entering the NFL in 2014, Carr has made five starts when the temperature is under 38 at kickoff and he’s gone 0-5 in those games, although four of the five losses were by one score.”

Geoff Schwartz, Fox Sports

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For Geoff Schwartz of Fox Sports, it’s all about starting fast. He thinks the Bengals win outright if they do the following:

“The Bengals will need to rely on their run game at times, which they did in the first Raiders matchup. Throw the ball quickly to avoid the rush. Also, coach Zac Taylor must have his team understand that this isn’t the same Las Vegas team they smashed two months ago. Do not start slowly.”

Justin Bales, Pro Football Network

Syndication: The Enquirer

Justin Bales of Pro Football Network also sees a Bengals win in 31-20 fashion, noting that the Raiders are a bit of fool’s gold from a weak AFC:

“This game should be relatively one-sided. The Raiders aren’t truly a playoff team, as the AFC lacks elite depth. They’re one of only two teams (Pittsburgh Steelers) with a negative scoring margin on the year.”

Andrew DeWitt, The Athletic

Syndication: The Enquirer

Andrew DeWitt of The Athletic also tackles the subject of the Raiders being weak opposition for the Bengals. He and his colleagues combine to make it seven of eight picking the Bengals:

“Stop the bus. The Raiders beat Drew Lock (Broncos), a sick Carson Wentz (COVID-19) and Nick Mullens (Browns) before beating Justin Herbert and the Chargers on Sunday night. This same Raiders team lost to the Washington Football Team in early December and then got smashed by the Chiefs 48-9 the next week before going on this little hot streak. Las Vegas finished with a -65 point differential this season.”

Pete Fiutak, College Football News

Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Pete Fiutak of College Football News makes a point to highlight that Bengals stars got a week of rest while prepping for this one, calling a 30-23 Bengals win:

“The Bengal star power got a week off to get everyone as right as can be, and Las Vegas had the emotional Sunday night game – that extra time will matter just enough. It won’t be the wipeout of earlier in the season, and the Bengals will press way too much, but Joe Burrow will get his first NFL playoff win.”

Maurice Moton, Bleacher Report

Syndication: The Enquirer

Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report is one of the only folks picking the Raiders on these early-week predictions, pointing over very accurately the damage Raiders edge rushers could do to a bad Bengals offensive line, predicting a 26-24 Raiders win:

“Vegas fields the ninth-ranked pass defense, which will make it difficult for Burrow, Chase and Higgins on the back end. Coupled with solid coverage, edge-rushers Yannick Ngakoue and Maxx Crosby should be able to consistently collapse the pocket.”

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